Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

Port Antonio, Jamaica – Driving along the coast of Jamaica led us to northeast Port Antonio and Goblin Hill Villas where we met the lovely Mary White. The resort doesn’t have a restaurant and instead provides guests with a cook/housekeeper who will cook anything you’d like, starting with breakfast daily … and, of course, we couldn’t imagine anything better than a traditional Jamaican breakfast every day.

We stayed in Villa 13 where Mary was our “mother”. It was fun to select our daily menu with her and we even went with Mary to the Port Antonio market to shop for fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. We quickly learned that Mary’s an excellent cook and decided to asked her to teach us how to make one of her Jamaican favourites. She humbly offered to share her recipe for Brown Stew Fish.

Mary used Parrot fish for our “cooking class.” Parrot fish is named for its strong resemblance to it’s flying namesake and can be found in an array of brilliant colors, ranging from coral reds to vivacious violets to bright turquoise. However, similar fish like snapper can be substituted in this recipe since Parrot is a reef-dwelling fish easily found year-round in the tropics but not easily everywhere else.

When we were in Jamaica we couldn’t get enough of this delicately flavoured fish so we were very happy to make and eat Mary’s Brown Stew Fish. We think you’ll find this recipe as easy as we did. A natural teacher, just follow along with Mary and you can’t go wrong!
6 to 8 whole Parrot fish or snapper (1/2 pound each)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 stalks Escallion (green onion), chopped
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 small Tomato, chopped
1 small Bell pepper, sliced
Cooking oil
2 cloves Garlic
2 slices Scotch bonnet pepper
1 Tbsp Margarine
1 Tbsp Ketchup
1 Tbsp Fish and Meat Sauce (or substitute steak sauce)
¼ cup Water
1. Rinse fish (it should already be scaled and gutted)
2. Add fish to bowl with seasonings (salt, black pepper, escallion, tomato, bell pepper)
3. Mix fish and seasonings and leave to marinate overnight or at least 1 hour before cooking
4. In a large pan, fry garlic and scotch bonnet pepper in cooking oil
5. Dry fish with a paper towel, removing water and seasonings
6. Place fish in pan with hot oil and cook until golden, about 5 minutes on each side; set aside
7. In another pan, melt margarine and sautee seasonings used to marinate fish
8. Add water, ketchup, fish and meat sauce, and salt to taste
9. Add fish to pan and cover with seasonings and sauce; let simmer for 2 minutes

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Comments (4)
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  • Arlene

    Wonderful tasty love it

  • Nettie

    Definitely going to try this recipe. You make it sound so easy (lol), but I always have trouble frying fish. When I fry fish the skin usually comes off, am I doing something wrong?

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Nettie,
      I’m not sure why the skin would come off. Is the fish sticking to the pan? If that’s the case, my best bet is that the oil is not hot enough or you’re trying to turn it too early. Give it another go.
      Blessings, Fay

  • Ray

    Hi Fay & AngelaThe recipe was awesome, tried again and added pimento seeds … mmmm good!I use a cast iron pan and never have a problem with fish sticking. Try drying the fish completely, or drizzle a light cornstarch coat on the fish just before frying. When frying, do not disturb fish until it has build a crust, then turn over and do other side.