Chefs' Recipes

Bar Rochford's garfish with sauce chien and habanero

If you haven't tried the Carribean's herb-packed sauce chien, what are you waiting for?

By Louis Couttoupes
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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"Sauce chien is a herb sauce from the Caribbean, where the phrase 'c'est chien' is slang for 'it's great'," says Louis Couttoupes of Canberra's Bar Rochford. "If you're not keen on butterflying garfish, ask your fishmonger to do it, or try it with a fillet of a larger white-fleshed fish."


  • 6 garfish, cleaned
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 habanero chilli, thinly sliced
  • Grilled lime cheeks, to serve
Sauce chien
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) mint, finely chopped
  • 2 small long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 small spring onions, finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 small garlic cloves,grated on a microplane


  • 1
    To butterfly garfish, turn them on their back and cut through the bones along the spine on either sides, trying not to pierce the skin. With kitchen scissors, snip the spine at both the tail and where it connects to the head. Lift the backbone and cut between the bones and the skin, then lift the backbone away cleanly. Gently remove rib bones by sliding your knife under the bones and cutting outwards. Finally, remove the pin-bones with tweezers.
  • 2
    For sauce chien, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
  • 3
    Toss lime juice and garlic in a bowl to coat.
  • 4
    Heat a barbecue or char-grill pan to high. Brush lime mixture onto the garfish flesh and marinate for 5 minutes, then oil and season the skin and grill, skin-side down until nicely charred (1 minute). Turn and grill until just barely cooked (1 minute). Serve with sauce chien, habanero and grilled lime cheeks.


Drink suggestion: A Chenin Blanc, or a low-alcohol wine such as the 2016 Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli from Spain's Basque country. Drink suggestion by Nick Smith.