The recipe of the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance of Cuba

The Macabí [bonefish] fish dumplings recipe is part of Cuba’s culinary heritage. It is very well known in Gibara, Holguín, in eastern Cuba.

Its creators, Omar Sánchez Izquierdo and Madelaine Vázquez, have come up with this version of the dish after researching this traditional recipe Both have close links to the work of the Cooks’ Alliance in Cuba, chaired by chef Yamilet Magariño, which has brought together prestigious chefs and cooks from all over the country. Under her leadership, the Alliance has carried out a number of actions for the preservation of Cuban culinary culture, by means of workshops, Slow dinners, educational programs, cooking demonstrations in Earth Markets, and online events. Terra Madre 2018 featured a Creole menu that was very well received by the delegates at the show.

Omar is a computer engineer and winegrower. He has been a member of the Cuban Cooks’ Alliance since it was founded, and contributes ideas about how to preserve food and apply fermentation processes. His love for cooking has led him to experiment with traditional dishes and drinks, such as polenta with pork, rice chicharrones, pineapple chichaPru oriental, and more than 10 varieties of fruit wines, among others.

Madelaine Vázquez is a chef, having graduated in Social Nutrition, and holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education Science. She has published 10 books on Cuban cuisine and has written more than 100 articles on the food culture of her country. She hosted a Cuban cooking program, Con Sabor, for nine years. She is currently the Slow Food international advisor for the Caribbean.

The Macabí

Macabí fish dumplings

Ingredients for 40 dumplings:

Gutted macabí, head removed – 1 kg, 1 large fish
Bread – 120 g
Milk – 250 mL
Onion – 100 g
Scallions  – 40 g
Oil – 34 g
Egg – 100 g
Dry white wine – 30 mL
Lemon juice – 30 mL
Salt – 5 g
Pepper – 0.3 g
Wheat flour – 160 g
Oil for frying.
Salsa criolla – 250 g
Parsley – 22 g


Pound the fish with a wooden mallet to soften the flesh and remove it from the backbone. Remove the skin from one side first and scoop out the flesh with a spoon; repeat on the other side. Place the flesh in a bowl. Remove the crusts from the bread and soak it in the milk. Squeeze out the bread and put it through the mincer along with the fish.

Finely chop the onion and scallions; sauté in the oil in a medium frying pan for 3 minutes. Add the sautéed mixture to the fish. Add the beaten eggs, dry white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Knead and form into small balls.

Dredge in flour and fry in very hot oil for 5 minutes. Serve with the salsa criolla on top, sprinkled with parsley.

Note: This fish yields 740 g of raw flesh.

Preparation time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

Back to the archive