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Chillo Frito

This preparation of fried red snapper is a popular simple dish in Puerto Rico. With influences taken from Spanish fried fish dishes, chillo frito makes use of the fresh seafood that is plentiful in the Caribbean. When prepared in Puerto Rico, the fish is often fried whole, keeping the meat tender. However, any fish fillets can be used. In this recipe, a mojito isleño (“island sauce”) is spooned over the fried fish. The dish is sometimes served over a bed of coconut rice, or with Puerto Rican-style sliced fried bananas or plantains. In the United States, chillo frito is prepared in Puerto-Rican immigrant communities in New York and Florida.

Recipe Servings: 6

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Total Time
35 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic and sauté for 1 additional minute. Remove the garlic and onion to a bowl, leaving the oil in the pan.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Fry the fish filets on both sides until golden. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the bell pepper to the pan and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sautéed onions and garlic, the tomatoes, tomato sauce, capers, bay leaf, red wine vinegar, and olives.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, adding water as necessary.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. To serve, add the fish to the top of the pan to warm through.
  8. Plate with sauce ladled over the top of the fillets.

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