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Jamaican brown stew fish recipe

This Jamaican brown stew fish is just magical, a very delicious fish recipe! The fish version of Jamaican brown stew chicken, it is first fried simmered down in a down to a sweet-savory sauce.

Jamaican Brown Stew fish

Brown Stew Fish

Brown stew fish is fried fish them stewed down on low heat in a sweet-savoury sauce that is flavoured with Jamaican herbs and spices.

If you like your food slightly sweet or spicy, this is the perfect fish dish to try

What Goes In Jamaican Brown Stew Fish

Here are the ingredients you need for brown stew fish!

  • Fish: This most popular fish that Jamaican stew is snapper, parrot or barracuda. But any fish can be stewed. It is best to use fishes that are not very soft or easily break apart when cooked.
  • Scotch bonnet pepper, pimento (allspice), garlic: Both for frying the fish and making the sauce.
  • Salt, black pepper: To season the fish.
  • Tomato, onion, thyme, bell pepper: Essential ingredients to brown stew fish.

Ketchup is a common ingredient that is often used brown stew fish but I no longer use ketchup in my cooking so I don’t add it here.

brown stew fish

Tips For Frying The Fish

Make sure the fish is completely dry before you fry it. This makes it easy to fry. After washing the fish, drain away all the water and dry it with a kitchen towel. This helps a lot.

Add garlic, pimento (allspice) and scotch bonnet pepper to the frying oil to give the fish a lovely flavour.

How To Cook Brown Stew Fish

Step 1. Wash the fish in lime/lemon and vinegar wash.

Step 2. Pour away all the water and dry the fish.

Step 3. Seasoning the fish with salt and black pepper.

 Step 4. Add enough cooking oil to a frying pan at high heat.

Step 5. Once the oil is smoking hot, add chopped garlic, the whole bonnet peppers and pimento berries.

Step 6. Add the fish and fry until both sides are golden brown.

Step 7. Remove the burned garlic, scotch pepper and pimento berries. Pour away the frying oil leaving about a tablespoon in the pan.

Step 8. Add chopped tomato, bell pepper, onion, crushed garlic, chopped scotch bonnet pepper, scallion, thyme and pimento berries. Sauté for three minutes.

Step 8. Add water, browning and salt, stir. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the fried fish halfway through.

Step. Simmer until sauce is reduced.

What To Serve It With

In Jamaica, we serve brown stew fish with rice or boiled ground provisions.

On Sundays, Brown stew fish is served with rice and peas with a side of fresh salad for Sunday dinner.

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Jamaican Brown Stew fish

Jamaican brown stew fish recipe

Full of flavour, the Jamaican brown stew fish recipe is the perfect Sunday dish.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: brown stew fish, Fish, Jamaican ackee and salt fish recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Lesa


  • 2 lbs Fresh fish
  • 1 Stalks scallion Chopped
  • 2 Small tomato Diced
  • 1 Bell pepper Chopped
  • 3 Sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 Garlic cloves 2 Crushed & 3 chopped in two
  • 1 Small onion Chopped
  • 1 ½ Scotch bonnet pepper Keep one whole pepper and remove the seeds from the half and finely chopped
  • 8 Pimento berries (allspice)
  • Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Browning sauce
  • 1 Cup Water
  • ¼ Cup Cooking oil

Wash the fish

  • 1 Lemon/lime
  • 1 tsp Vinegar


  • Wash the fish with the lime/lemon and vinegar. Drain any excess water from the fish and dry the fish.
  • Mix about ¾ tsp salt and ½ tsp of black pepper together and rub all over and into the fish.
  • In a frying pan, pour the cooking oil and put on high heat
  • Add the chopped garlic, the whole bonnet peppers and 5 pimento berries to the oil.
  • Add the fish to the frying pan. Let the fish fry on both the sides until it gets a golden brown colour.
  • When the fish is all fried, remove the pan from the fire. Remove the burned pepper, garlic and pimento berries.
  • Pour way the oil leaving about a tablespoon in the pan. Return to the fire on low heat.
  • Add the chopped tomato, bell pepper, onion, crushed garlic, chopped scotch bonnet pepper, scallion, thyme and the rest of the pimento berries. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the cup of water, the browning sauce, stir. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Half way through add the fried fish. Spoon the sauce over the fish.


Ketchup is sometime use to thicken the sauce and give the dish a hint of sweetness. If you wish to use ketchup, add it after you add the water to the pot.


Nutrition Facts
Jamaican brown stew fish recipe
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  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?

  2. TARAH S.

    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. Janice Williams

    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…🙏😍

    • Hi Janice, so please to hear that, thanks for sharing.

      • 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. 5 stars
    Absolutely great recipe. Followed it and the meal was perfect.

  6. If you want to add ketchup how much would your recommend? A few people said it taste delicious with ketchup too.

  7. 5 stars
    Easy, flavorful and yummy 😋!

  8. Carol A Hill-Frazier

    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?

    • 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.

  9. 5 stars
    The most amazing dish I’ve had in a while. Very easy to prepair

    Thank you

  10. Quinicia piper

    5 stars
    Thanks for your time 🙂 and help.

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