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Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

This Jamaican brown stew fish dish is just magical, a very delicious fish recipe! The fish version of Jamaican brown stew chicken, in which the fish is first fried and then simmered down in a down to a brown savoury sauce.

Jamaican brown stew fish

Brown Stew Fish

If you can brown stew chicken, you can also brown stew fish. Whether it’s chicken or fish, the cooking method is the same, but we are talking about fish, and cooking time will vary.

You can use almost any type of fish for your brown stew recipe, but the most common fish used by Jamaican is red snapper, parrot or barracuda. Long as the fish can take a deep-fry and then cook down in the sauce without breaking apart, it can brown stew.

Brown stew fish

What Goes In Jamaican Brown Stew Fish

Here are the ingredients you need for Jamaican brown stew fish… and a few missing ones LOL.

Brown stew fish ingredients
  • Fresh fish: Use any fresh fish of your choice, long as it won’t easily break apart with extensive cooking. Here I am using sea bream.
  • Salt, ground black pepper: Not in the image above but use to season the fish.
  • Ingredients for the sauce: Tomato, onion, thyme and bell peppers are essential ingredients to brown stew fish and scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento (allspice) and thyme which are essential to any Jamaican cooking.
  • Browning sauce: Browning sauce is use to darken the stew sauce.
  • Opss!:Ketchup and cornstarch are also missing from the image above. But are used to thicken the sauce and add a hint of sweetness. How can I forget, oil to fry the fish!

How To Cook Brown Stew Fish

  1. Prepare the fish: Washing the fish with lime/lemon and vinegar will help to reduce the raw fishy smell. You want to dry the fish before frying as wet fish don’t fry well. So I recommend patting the fish dry with a paper towel after you washed it.
  2. The frying oil: The oil should be hot before adding the fish. Like frying a wet fish, the fish won’t fry well if the oil isn’t hot enough. Placing scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, and pimento berries in the oil is a great way to add more flavour to the fish.
  3. Crispy brown fish: Fry the fish until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides. If the oil is hot enough and the fishes are dry and at the right temperature before frying, you shouldn’t have a problem getting this done.
  4. Sauce time: The easiest and the best part about cooking this dish, because it’s nearly time to eat. Add all the other ingredients to the same pan you fried the fish in and cook down to a nice sauce, then add the fish and simmer for a few minutes.
Jamaican brown stew fish recipe

What To Serve It With

You can serve Jamaican brown stew fish with anything you eat with your favourite fish dish.
If you want to do a Jamaican style, serve brown stew fish with rice and peas or boiled ground provisions, what we called “hard food“.

This coconut rice dish will also serve well with brown stew fish.

Related Recipes:

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Jamaican brown stew fish

Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe

This Jamaican brown stew fish is the perfect fish recipe and a must try for Sunday dinner.
4.55 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: brown stew fish, Fish, Jamaican ackee and salt fish recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 196kcal
Author: Lesa


  • 632 g (1.39 lb) Fresh fish
  • 23 g (0.81 oz) Scallion Chopped
  • 56 g (1.98 oz) Small tomato Diced
  • 74 g (2.61 oz) Bell pepper Chopped
  • 5 Sprigs thyme
  • 3 Garlic cloves 1 for the sauce & 2 for the frying oil
  • 28 g (0.99 oz) Onion Chopped
  • 1 ¼ Scotch bonnet pepper Keep one whole pepper for the frying oil and remove the seeds from the ¼ and finely chopped
  • 5 Pimento berries (allspice)
  • Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Browning sauce
  • ½ tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Cooking oil

Wash the fish

  • 1 Lemon/lime
  • 1 tsp Vinegar


  • Wash the fish with lime/lemon and vinegar. Drain any excess water from the fish and dry the fish with a paper towel.
  • Mix about 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp of black pepper and rub all over and into the fish.
  • In a frying pan, pour the cooking oil and put on high heat
  • In a large frying pan, pour the cooking oil, add the pimento berries, a whole bonnet pepper and two garlic cloves chopped into two. On high heat, bring the oil to just about the smoke point.
  • You know when the oil is hot enough when the garlic starts to brown. Add the fish to the frying pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown.
  • When the fish are all fried, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the burned pepper, garlic and pimento berries. Pour away the oil, leaving about a tablespoon in the pan.
  • Place the pan back on the stove on medium heat. Add the chopped tomato, bell pepper, onion, garlic, chopped scotch bonnet pepper, scallion and thyme. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the cup of water, the browning sauce and ketchup. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the cornstarch.
  • Add the fish. Turn the heat down. Flip the fish over and simmer for another five minutes


  • Use a whole scotch bonnet pepper in the frying oil. Don’t cut are pierce it.
  • Cut the garlic cloves into two pieces before adding them to the frying oil to add more flavour to the fish.


Nutrition Facts
Jamaican Brown Stew Fish Recipe
Serving Size
158 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. 5 stars
    I am about to make this meal for my Daughter who is a Ja-merican and had this meal in Nagos head (did I spell that correctly?) a few years ago and love and is always asking me to make it. I am planning to add Ketchup to sweeten it a little. Is that a good Idea?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. Ketchup is use a lot by Jamaicans in gravy and recipes like the one above, to give it a little sweet taste. So adding it is very Jamaican. However, make sure to reduce the amount of tomato you use when you plan on using ketchup.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this 2 years ago not using this recipe. My friends husband has been raving about the fish since I made it. She asked that I make it for him..well he did. When I tell you this recipe is my new favorite. OMG and I added ketchup. It was sooooo good. Super easy as well! Kudos to you sis!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. I made it for the first time for my husband yesterday, and it came out so wonderful! he love it. Thanks Again…🙏😍

      1. I have tried many of your recipes, oxtail, curry goat, brown chicken stew, ackee+salt fish, etc… now on the escovith fish. Your recipes are so well explained, it is impossible to fail! Your website tops all the others, proper, authentic jamaican cuisine. Thank you Lesa!

  4. Thank you for having this platform. Though I am a visual leaner, your recipe was clear to understand.

  5. Can you use red snapper filets? I just bought two large filets and would like to use this recipe for the first time. Also, where can I find Scotch bonnet peppers, and are they necessary?

    1. Sure you can, but keep in mind that filets cooks quicker and are much softer so be mindful of the amount of water you use to make the sauce and how long the filets cook in it. Scotch bonnet will give the dish a “Jamaican flavour” but the main reason for uses is for spice so you could use any other chilli pepper.

  6. 5 stars
    I love, love, love, love your recipes. Being in a relationship with a Jamaican and seeing the smile on his face after eating one or more dishes that I’ve prepared, makes me happy. He continuesly compliments every dish. Thank you for every recipe you post and the step by step instructions. One love!

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