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Dive into Flavor with Authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

The culinary world is a vast sea of flavors, each culture offering its own unique blend of spices, techniques, and traditions. One such culinary treasure trove is Jamaica, known for its vibrant culture, pulsating music, and most importantly, its mouthwatering cuisine. Among the many dishes that tantalize the taste buds, Jamaican Brown Stew Fish stands out as a true gem, bursting with bold flavors and rich history.

Authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

This iconic dish reflects the fusion of African, Spanish, British, and indigenous influences that have shaped Jamaican cuisine over centuries. With its roots deeply embedded in the island's fishing heritage, Brown Stew Fish is a celebration of fresh seafood and aromatic spices, simmered to perfection in a thick, savory sauce.

Today, I invite you to embark on a culinary journey to Jamaica as we explore the traditional recipe for Brown Stew Fish. Whether you're a seasoned chef or an adventurous home cook, this dish promises to transport your taste buds to the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean. So, roll up your sleeves, sharpen your knives, and let's dive into the irresistible flavors of Jamaican Brown Stew Fish.

Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe


  • 2 lbs fresh whole fish or firm white fish fillets (such as snapper or tilapia)

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup cooking oil

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 1 bell pepper, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 cup fish or vegetable broth

  • 1 tsp browning sauce

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ½ scotch bonnet pepper sauce (optional)

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (seeds removed, half chopped)

  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped for garnish

  • Cooked rice or boiled yams, for serving


  1. Start by preparing the fish. Rinse the fish or fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Drizzle lemon juice over the fish or fillets and season generously with salt and black pepper and fish seasoning. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

  2. In a shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper. Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Skip if you are using a whole fish.

  3. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the whole scotch bonnet pepper and two halved garlic cloves for a few seconds to infuse the oil with flavor. Remove and discard the garlic and pepper. Add the fish or fillets to the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the fish from the skillet and set aside.

  4. In the same skillet, add a bit more oil if needed. Add the sliced onion and bell pepper and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.

  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, fish or vegetable broth, browning sauce, brown sugar, dried thyme, ground allspice, paprika, and scotch bonnet pepper sauce (if using) to the skillet. Stir well to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  6. Return the cooked fish fillets to the skillet, spooning some of the sauce over the top. Cover the skillet and let the fish simmer gently in the sauce for 5-7 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

  7. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if needed, adding more salt, pepper, or hot sauce to taste. Stir in the chopped scallions.

  8. To serve, transfer the fish fillets to a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

  9. Serve the Jamaican Brown Stew Fish hot alongside cooked rice or boiled yams.

  10. Enjoy the explosion of flavors in this authentic Jamaican dish!


  • Don't overcrowd the pan when frying the fish. Cook in batches if necessary to ensure even browning.

  • For a thicker sauce, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with some water and add it to the simmering stew towards the end.

  • If you can't find scotch bonnet peppers, substitute with habanero pepper (use half the amount) or a combination of jalapeño and serrano peppers.

  • Feel free to add other vegetables like carrots or green beans to the stew.

With its beautiful balance of flavors and textures, Jamaican Brown Stew Fish is a dish that will tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the heart of the Caribbean. So grab your favorite fish and fresh ingredients, and get ready to experience a taste of paradise!


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