Brown stew fish is a Jamaican delicacy that often lives in the shadow of better-known dishes such as jerk chicken, braised oxtail, or seafood counterpart: ackee and saltfish. It’s a delicious main course made from crispy fried whole fish simmered with vegetables in a sauce of thyme, tomatoes, onions, Scotch bonnets and Jamaican browning sauce, the most defining ingredients in the world of Jamaican braises. Get familiar if you have not already because you’ll want to keep this recipe handy as you can use just about any medium-sized whole fish. Serve alongside coconut-scented rice and peas or boiled plantain.
Jamaican Brown Stew Fish With Rice and Peas 8 Steps
Score the filet sides of each snapper, cutting just until the knife begins to touch bone.
Prepare the marinade: in a mixing bowl combine the minced garlic cloves, grated ginger, chopped parsley, kosher salt and allspice. Mix until a paste like mixture forms. Rub all over the outside and inside of each fish, cover and allow fish to marinade in the fridge for 1 hour.
Prepare the rice: in a pot combine the coconut juice, rinsed white rice, drained pigeon peas, kosher salt, thyme sprigs and butter. Bring to a boil, cover and return to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until rice is cooked. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and add in chopped cilantro. Cover with lid and let sit until ready to serve.
Once the fish has marinated for 1 hour, remove from the fridge and shake off any excess marinade. Dust each fish in flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wide shallow pan until it reaches approximately 350°F. Begin frying the floured fish until golden brown approximately 3 minutes per side and remove from the pan.
Drain off the frying oil leaving 2 tablespoons behind. Add in the sliced onions, sliced bell peppers, Scotch bonnet halves, diced tomatoes and thyme sprigs. Saute until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes.
Add in the Worcestershire sauce, browning sauce, brown sugar, water and bring to a boil, adjust seasoning with kosher salt and black pepper. Add in the okra as well as fried fish and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes flipping the fish halfway through.
Once the fish is cooked, remove the thyme sprigs and Scotch bonnet halves, serve alongside rice and peas.