Tropic breezes, sandy beaches, sunny sky, unimpeded view of the Pacific Ocean. You are in paradise.
Well, at least you would be if you weren’t the sole survivor of a plane crash washed up on this shore with nothing more than the tattered clothes on your back! This is the premise behind the survival game Stranded Deep by Beam Team Games. It’s brutal, addictive, and my husband loves it.
Though after hours of underwater spearfishing, raft building, and fleeing from sharks, he was craving some IRL seared grouper. So armed with screenshots and a basic formulation of a plan, this is what I came up with.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Quwawa Seared Grouper!
These are my islands in the sun…
That’s right. In this game, you hunt, fish, forage, build, and even distill your resources to survive. Stone hatchets and spearfishing, anyone? What are humans without tools other than monkeys wearing pants?
Survival requires more than one island, though. So your goals shift towards building a raft. Not just any raft, a floating fortress worthy of a seafaring scavenger. Fishies beware! For death comes from above in the form of pointy sticks!
That said, cooking’s pretty basic using stakes over campfires unless you find an oil drum and rig up a hobo stove. I don’t think it’s that hard of a stretch that beached ships might have some usable cookware in their galleys. So that’s why we’re making pan-seared grouper and mashed potatoes.
Why grouper? Uh…they’re delicious. Also, the giant grouper in Stranded Deep are slow, easy to hunt, and did we mention GIANT? One of those things will feed your character for a week. Why potatoes? They, aloe, and coconut are the only American grocery store-available vegetables in Stranded Deep. Also, we were a bit curious to taste a coconut milk-blended mashed potato.
It turns out they’re pretty good. Since you’re unlikely to find butter or olive oil on this island, this recipe also uses coconut oil for searing. Of course, since there’s also wild boar, you can also use lard. I leave that choice up to you, though.
Protein, starch, salt, and fat — it’ll keep you alive. However, for an interesting dish, you need acid and seasoning. That’s why I turned my attention to the other in-game flora—the Quwawa and Pipi plant, for example.
The Quwawa, like many of the other plants in Stranded Deep, is fictional. It looks a little like a cross between a pear and guava, though. So I cut some pears into a matchstick slaw and macerated it in some guava nectar and ground sumac.
In my research, I also found the Pipi plant is fictional…or is it? Pipi looks suspiciously like horopito — a New Zealand herb used in both culinary and medicinal applications. Horopito leaves taste peppery. I don’t live in New Zealand (and likely neither do you), so I used black pepper and Thai Basil instead. I figured I was also on the right track as Stranded Deep’s Pipi plant also functions as shark repellant.
With dishes like these, you might just consider eating those potatoes. You know, instead of distilling them into fuel for a rescue plane that
will may not work anyway. Or you could make vodka. But that’s a different recipe.
Sing for your Supper!
If you plan to cook the recipes off the site, keep scrolling. However, while access to recipes on the blog will always be free, I also have printable PDF recipe cards and thematic cook-along Spotify playlists as rewards for those who choose to support the blog.
The printable recipe card and playlist for Stranded Deep-inspired Quwawa Seared Grouper will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.
You can instead join my Patreon community at the “Sing for your Supper” level ($1/month) for access to the playlists or the “It’s All in the Cards” level ($5/month) or higher for access to ALL of my blog recipe cards and playlists. Patrons of all reward tiers will even receive a welcome gift of my Lord of the Rings recipe cards and playlists from January 2019 to get you started.
The Stranded Deep Special
Quwawa Seared Grouper
Equipment: Stovetop, skillet, large saucepan with a lid, wire strainer, vegetable peeler, fish spatula, wire whisk, two mixing bowls, and potato ricer (optional).
- 4, 6-oz grouper fillets
- 2 Tb coconut oil
- 2 Bartlett or Asian pears, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- 4 Tb guava nectar
- 1/2 cup chopped Thai basil
- 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 lb gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp lemon zest or ground sumac
- black pepper
- kosher salt
- Pour the guava nectar into a bowl and whisk in the lemon zest, a pinch of kosher salt, and a few dashes of black pepper. Toss in the pear and half of the basil to coat and set aside.
- Rinse the diced potatoes in a strainer under cold water before transferring them to a saucepan. Fill the pot with more cold water to cover the vegetables, then bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat the skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Pat the grouper dry with paper towels, and add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the hot pan.
- Liberally season both sides of the grouper with pepper and kosher salt. Cook two at a time for 3-4 minutes on each side until opaque. Add the other tablespoon of coconut oil between batches and cover the cooked fish with a plate to keep warm.
- Drain the potato pot and transfer the vegetables to the other mixing bowl. Return the pot to the stovetop and pour in the coconut milk. Turn the heat to low.
- Process the potatoes either using a potato ricer or mesh strainer into the coconut milk, then scrape the whole mix back into the bowl. Fold in the remaining basil and a few pinches of kosher salt, then distribute the mash among four serving plates.
- Transfer the fish to the plates and top with slaw before serving.