June 23, 2017

cameraWatch our step-by-step video for this recipe below

I have had several requests for this recipe! Whether you call it Mackerel Rundown or Rundown Mackerel, the term “rundown” is used to describe a thick sauce made of coconut milk boiled down with seasonings until it begins to form a custard. In some places in Jamaica rundown is also called “Dip and Fall Back”, more so in the past than now. I recently read that the name is said to have been given this term because the dish was served in bowl in the middle of the table. Each person would dip a starchy food in the bowl (usually boiled green banana, yam or breadfruit) then “fall back” to allow another person to dip.

As you’ll see, my recipe is very authentic. In my video I show you how to make your own coconut milk, which is how I was taught to make Rundown. You can try making it with canned coconut milk, but the result is not quite the same. I tested canned coconut milk and the custard turned out very thick and somewhat sweet. However, this may be to your taste and will certainly save you time, so it may be a good option for some of you. The other key ingredient is the salted or pickled mackerel. However, you can use any salted fish, like cod or herring to make a tasty rundown.



2 lbs Salted/Pickled Mackerel
2 Medium Coconuts
8 cups Water
1 medium Onion, sliced
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 stalks escallion/green onion, chopped
3 slices of scotch bonnet pepper
1 tsp dried Thyme

Prep Mackerel
(to reduce salt)

1. Remove the bones from Mackeral
2. Cut fish into 2-inch to 3-inch pieces and place in bowl
3. Pour boiling water over fish until covered; let sit for a half hour
4. Drain water and set fish aside

Make Coconut Milk
1. Remove flesh from coconuts and cut into small pieces
2. Using blender, in four batches, puree coconut with 8 cups of water
3. Use strainer to remove and squeeze coconut from water

1. Pour coconut milk into saucepan and bring to boil
2. Stir milk using Medium-High heat until it reduces to a thick custard and oil is visible on top
3. Add onion, garlic, tomato, escallion, scotch bonnet pepper and thyme to pan and stir
4. Sautee seasonings in coconut custard until onions are transparent
5. Add fish, skin side down, to pan and cover with sauce
6. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until fish is cooked

Serve hot with boiled green bananas and boiled dumplings

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I’ve been cooking Jamaican food for my family for more than 50 years! Now I'm teaching my daughter Angela and you how to cook my treasured family recipes! I'm happy to be of service and love hearing from you so don't forget to leave a comment below.



  • Reply
    November 5, 2012

    I am sooooooo glad that I ran across your website. I loooovvvvvvvvvveeee Jamaican and most other island foods. I think that there is a very real heathy aspect to Jamaican food. I was looking for someone to show me how to cook Jamaican….and here you were all the time. Thank you sooooo much. Sometimes I really think that my love for Jamaican cuisine is because we share the same roots. Thanks again, and please keep the cooking videos coming. Be blessed……Alan Sr.

    • Reply Cook Like A Jamaican
      November 5, 2012

      Hi Alan,
      I’m glad you found me too. Thank you for your kinds words. Have fun trying my recipes … I hear they’re pretty good LOL, Blessings, Fay

  • Reply
    Luiza Magdalena
    November 5, 2012

    Hallo Fay,
    Can I use in this recipe chicken or other meat instead of fish? I don’t like it at all;)
    I love your website!

    • Reply Cook Like A Jamaican
      November 6, 2012

      Hi Luiza,
      Thank you for your question. What makes rundown special is the salted fish, which is a key ingredient. It would take longer to cook chicken or meat and it would certainly not taste the same. Blessings, Fay

  • Reply
    Dawn Brereton
    November 5, 2012

    Hi Fay: I recently made your banana bread and it was so delicious…you were right about the number of bananas to use..the bread was so moist. Thank you for your receipe – keep them coming.

  • Reply
    Nicole Kelly
    November 20, 2012

    Hi Faye, it’s a pleasure to be on your site. it’s very interesting and a welcoming feeling. i thank you so much.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013

    I am truly enjoying your video. You are creating such a treasure with your mom for future generations. I will let you know how my attempts turn out. Thank you and blessings for your mom and your entire family.

  • Reply
    Ms. RHiki
    February 1, 2013

    just wanted to know how long does the coconut milk take to reduce down that low? Should it boil on high?

    • Reply Cook Like A Jamaican
      February 3, 2013

      Hi Ms. Rhiki, it takes about 10 minutes to reduce. Yes, simmer on High or Medium-High. Blessings, Fay

  • Reply
    February 15, 2013

    Firstly, thank you so much for this website, I really enjoy trying new recipes with new ingredients and Jamaican food is lovely!! I just wondered if I used tinned or creamed coconut in his recipe how many milliletres would I need please? Thank you!!!

    • Reply Cook Like A Jamaican
      Cook Like A Jamaican
      February 19, 2013

      Hi Katie,
      Thank you for your question. I wouldn’t recommend using coconut cream, however, you can use tinned coconut milk. Because the milk in the tin is quite sweet, you should dilute it: combine 2 cups milk with 6-8 cups of water. Let me know how it works out. Blessings, Fay

  • Reply
    October 2, 2013

    Hi Ms Fay can you do a video recipe for fried dumplings like how the jamaican retaurants do it oh my gosh i can never get it right pleasee 🙂

  • Reply
    July 19, 2014

    I am so glad I found your site it helped me so much I will enjoy this so much

    • Reply
      January 22, 2016

      I love learning how to properly prepare original tasting Jamaican cuisine. I’ve always loved Caribbean food, especially Jamaican cuisine. Thank you for sharing your recipes. My yearly fee is well worth it.

  • Reply
    Emily Wilson
    October 21, 2014

    I loved your mackeral rundown and my nieces love it too! I am only 12 years old and I babysit, so when I have to stay longer and cook dinner for my nieces and other Jamaican kids, they love your recipes so much.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I haven’t eaten this since I left my Mama’s yard (some years now). I tried it for the first time about 2 months ago using your recipe. My husband loved it, and I have cooked it twice more since. Thanks for your wonderful website.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2015

    It\’s Good Friday and I thought I would try something different from the usual fried fish, me being of Jamaican descent and my partner St Lucian it went down a storm with her and the kids, I love cooking but hadn\’t had a mackerel rundown since leaving home some years ago nor cooked it before, thanks for the recipe as i could have called my mum but she always finds it amusing when i ask about how to cook a Jamaican dish me being a man

  • Reply
    April 11, 2015

    Hi Fay
    Thank you for this great website. My husband used it to make a wonderful stew peas and rice we really enjoyed it. He fancies himself a chef. Today he is going to make the makerel rundown If he follows your instructions to the letter we are ensured another fabulous dinner.
    Best regards, Jackie

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