Pacamoto (fish cooked in bamboo)

This recipe is good for travelers that are planning to explore the jungle. Sometimes when traveling deep in the jungle we only bring basic cooking items and sometimes when we catch a fish we don’t know where or how to cook it. Below is a simple and tasty recipe for cooking the fish in a bamboo stalk.


• Fish (doesn’t matter the species, but try to use it with big species of fish that doesn’t have many small bones)
• A medium size onion (optional)
• 4 gloves of Garlic
• Black pepper, cumin, and salt
• A fresh green Bamboo stalk (make sure to open one side of the bamboo, also make sure the inside of the bamboo is clean and has white color.
• 3-4 leaves of Bijao (heliconia bihai aurea) or similar to the photo below.

In a container mix together the onions cut in square pieces, smash the garlic or cut in slices, a little bit of black pepper, cumin and salt. Next pour the fish cut in small pieces into the onion mixture. Once the fish is in the seasoning place the pieces of fish inside the bamboo stalk. Make sure to shake and hit the bottom of the bamboo against something hard, this way you will be able to place a lot of fish inside the bamboo (there is no need to add water because we will use the fish and the bamboo juices to cook our Pacamoto).

Using the Bijao leaves make a ball and cover the top part of the bamboo. Make sure it fits very tight this way the heat and the steam doesn’t get away and your bamboo stalk acts as a pressure cooker.

To finish with the preparation, make some fire, once you have a good fire place the bamboo in front of the fire for at least three hours (natives in the amazon can cook their Pacamotos in front of the fire for several days, this way at the end everything becomes eatable because all the bones and meat become soft).

Serve it with rice, plantains or yucca roots.

NOTE: You don’t need all the seasonings mentioned above, but you will definitely need salt; remember that natives do not use them.

Bijao leaves and Bamboo stalk photos for reference