Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

Jamaican’s love to have gravy with their food, so brown stew (cooked in gravy) anything is always well received. This easy recipe for Brown Stew Fish  makes a healthy and hearty meal especially if served with another Jamaican favourite ‘Hard Food’ (boiled provisions). It is an ideal dinner idea if you are looking for a tasty Jamaican recipe for you and the family.

 [icon icon_name=”star”] You will Need:

  • a large bowl for the fish
  • a sharp knife and chopping board to prepare the seasoning
  • a Dutch Pot or large frying pan to fry the seasoning and fish

Throughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself.

If you want to eat this with Hard Food, as shown above you can find the recipe here.


 [icon icon_name=”star”] Ingredients:

  • 1-2 whole fish or 3-4 pieces of sliced fish
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 escallion, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1-2 pegs of garlic, peeled and mashed or thinly diced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1/4 green sweet pepper (optional), de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into rounds or thin strips (Julienne)
  • 1 lime, or splash or two of vinegar (to clean fish)
  • Dry seasoning, I usually use a few shakes of each, say 1/2 to 1 tsp of each: ground black pepper, all-purpose seasoning, garlic powder, fish seasoning and paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Ketchup, squirt or two to taste and thicken gravy
  • Water, 1-2 cups boiled or cold

If you want to eat this with Hard Food, as shown above you can find the recipe here.

 [icon icon_name=”star”] Method:

  • De-scale and clean your fish; firmly hold the fish and scrape a sharp knife along the flesh without breaking it. Moving against the direction of the scales until they pop off (this can be messy so do outside or over a clean and empty sink). The skin will feel smooth and slippery when all the scales have been removed.
  • Clean away any blood and guts and clean thoroughly in water and lime juice, or a little vinegar, rinse, shake dry and place in a clean bowl.


  • Wash wet seasoning, including thyme and thinly slice onion, escallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and sweet pepper adding to the washed fish
  • Add dry seasoning, ground black pepper, all-purpose seasoning, garlic powder, fish seasoning and paprika to the mixture and stir until the fish is completely covered in the combined wet and dry seasonings. It should take on colour all over the flesh once sufficiently mixed. Leave to marinade for up to a day if time permits, if not, even 30 minutes marinade is better than nothing!
  • Once the fish has marinated, stab each piece with a fork and using a second implement carefully remove any attached seasoning (vegetable matter only) from the fish whilst holding it over the bowl. Do NOT throw this vegetable matter away as it will form the gravy.
  • Set on a dutch pot, or other deep heavy bottomed pot with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot by about 1/2 inch. Leave to get very hot on a medium to low heat. Once the oil is clear and crackling add the prepared fish to the oil, browning on both sides for about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
  • To prevent the gravy becoming too greasy you only want a light covering of oil on the bottom of the pot to fry the seasoning, so carefully remove any excess oil and leave in a heat-resistant receptacle to cool. PLEASE do NOT leave where children can pull it over themselves!
  • Turn down the heat a bit and add fresh sliced tomato and all the other seasoning used to marinade the fish (thyme, onion, escallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and sweet pepper) to the oil, saving any ‘water’ in the bowl for later.
  • Gently fry until softened, which should take about 3-4 minutes on a low to medium flame.
  • Add 1-2 cups of water to the dutch pot (can be cold or boiled), plus any liquid from the bowl the fish marinated in. Add the peeled and sliced carrots and cover.
  • Gently bowl liquid until carrots cook and the liquid reduces to form a thicker gravy, which should take about 10 – 15 minutes. Taste gravy to make sure of depth of taste and add salt and ketchup to your taste.
  • Once the gravy has thickened to suit, gently add fried fish cover and simmer for a minute or two to reheat fish right through.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Add the fried fish to the gravy
Add the fried fish to the gravy

If you want to eat this dish with hard food then you can follow the recipe here. If you do not have time to season the fish ahead of time, I would recommend seasoning the fish first and leaving it to marinade, prior to preparing the hard food. This will make sure the flavour of the fish is right to the bone and the taste will be ‘lick finger’!