How to Cook Fish Jamaican Style?

1. What is Fish Jamaican Style?

Fish Jamaican Style is a signature dish of Jamaican cuisine, known for its bold flavors and rich combination of tropical spices. The two most popular versions are:

  • Escovitch Fish: Fried fish served with a tangy, spicy pickled vegetable sauce, including Scotch bonnet peppers, onions, carrots, and vinegar.
  • Brown Stew Fish: Fish stewed in a rich sauce made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices like allspice and thyme.

Both dishes highlight the freshness of the fish and the complex flavors of Jamaican cuisine.

2. How to Cook Fish Jamaican Style?

Steamed Fish, Jamaican Style?
  • 1 large snapper, scaled, gutted and cleaned
  • A few okras, chopped
  • 1 cho cho, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks of escallion
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Crushed pimento grains and black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • Fish seasoning to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Excelsior Water Crackers


Slice the cleaned fish and season with black pepper, salt, and fish seasoning.
Add to a large pot roughly a cup and a half of water (or more if needed) just enough to cover the fish.

Next add all the other ingredients and cover the pot tightly.

Simmer over medium heat until the fish and vegetables are cooked (approximately 20 minutes, it all depends on the thickness of the fish, so eyeball it).
Add crackers at the end.

* Jamaican Fried Snapper

This fried snapper dish is a traditional Jamaican fish recipe called “escovitch.”


  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) whole red snapper, cleaned and scaled
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • ½ large carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
  •  teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ habanero pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 allspice berry, cracked
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
See also  Spicy Warm Chicken Salad


  1. Pat fish dry; cut 3 small slits on each side of fish. Season all over with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat 1-quart of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Fry fish in hot oil until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Remove fish and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

  3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Add vinegar, water, salt, habanero pepper, thyme, allspice, and sugar; continue cooking until liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes. Spoon onion mixture over fried fish to serve.



  • 2 whole fish (snapper, kingfish, or other white fish), cleaned and cut into steaks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (optional, for coating)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or green), sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Scotch Bonnet peppers or other hot peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground pimento (allspice), finely ground (optional)
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks (optional)


– Prepare the Fish:

  • Rinse the fish and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Optionally, coat the fish lightly with flour for extra crispiness.

– Fry the Fish:

  • Heat cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Fry the fish until golden brown and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish.
  • Remove fish and drain excess oil on paper towels.
See also  Chinese Noodle Chicken

– Prepare the Escoveitch Sauce:

  • In another pan, heat a bit of oil if needed and sauté the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and Scotch Bonnet peppers over medium heat until the onion is softened and peppers are fragrant.
  • Add white vinegar, water, sugar, black pepper, and ground pimento to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • If using carrot, add it to the sauce and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the carrot is tender.
  • Finish and Serve:
  • Arrange the fried fish on a serving platter and pour the hot escoveitch sauce over the fish.
  • Allow the fish to marinate in the sauce for at least 1 hour before serving, though it’s best when left overnight in the refrigerator.


  • Jamaican Escoveitched Fish is traditionally served cold or at room temperature.
  • It pairs well with bread, rice, or salad.
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