In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Appetizing Caribbean Stew Fish.

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Earlier today I mentioned on the Facebook Fan Page that I had a severe craving for stew fish with a healthy serving of brown rice, but I didn’t have time to go to the fish market to source out my favorite fish, King Fish. However I did have a sea bass in the freezer that escaped going on the grill over the summer. I wasn’t sure how well the Sea Bass would stand up to this recipe and some of the people who commented on Facebook also shared my concern. So basically this recipe was a sort of experiment, but it turned out to be a lovely substitute for the King fish I much rather using. I’ve also seen my mom use, red fish, jack fish, salmon and carite (mackerel) when making this dish.

You’ll Need…

2 lbs fish (I used sea bass)
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
medium onion sliced
medium tomato sliced
1/4 hot pepper (scotch bonnet or habanero) or 1/4 teaspoon hotsauce
1/2 teaspoon green seasoning
1 scallion
veg oil for frying the fish (about 1-2 cups)
flour for dusting the fish for frying (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon ketchup
3 cloves garlic crushed/sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lime or lemon

Trim off the fins etc, cut into 1-2 inch pieces and squeeze the lime or lemon juice over it in a bowl and rinse with water (then drain). I kept the head, but to be honest I much prefer to use it for stock or making fish broth. I then season the fish and have it marinate for about 30 minutes or so. In the bowl with the washed fish pieces, add everything except the tomato paste, oil for frying, flour, olive oil and water.

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To help the fish keep it’s shape while stewing and to follow on the traditional way I know of making this dish, we’ll quickly fry the fish pieces. Place the oil to heat in a pan on medium/high heat. Then shake off the seasoned fish pieces (keep the stuff that falls off in the bowl) and roll them in the flour to form a sort of coating. Then add to the hot oil and allow it to cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then set aside to drain off any excess oil on paper towels.

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In a fairly wide and deep saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, then add the tomato, onions, garlic.. etc  that the fish was marinating in (scrape the bowl clean). Allow this to cook for a couple minutes (stir), then add the tomato paste (another option if you don’t have tomato paste, is Caribbean style browning – about1/4 teaspoon). Now add the 3/4 cup of water, then gently add in the fish pieces. Give them a gentle stir so the sauce gets to “marry” with the fish pieces and heighten the flavour of the overall dish. Allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes, so the sauce (gravy) can have time to thicken up a bit. Enjoy!

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Yea, this one hit the spot today for sure and I quite surprised how well the Sea Bass held up. But, I was very careful when handing it. No fish meal in the Caribbean is complete without a few slices of cucumber on the side.  Please leave me your comments below as I’d love to hear from you. Maybe you have a different version of this you’d like to share? And don’t forget to join us on Facebook to chat about all things food related and the culture of the Caribbean. Click on the image on the upper right side of this page to get started. we’d love to have you.

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  1. praimnath sankar
    July 13, 2018 / 8:50 pm

    why am I getting this post today? It is an old one.

  2. Ricardo
    April 29, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    I really do like your recipe. Here in the Bahamas, most people do not flour fish if they are going to stew it. They brown it without coating it. Other people, on the other hand, do lightly coat fish with flour before browning it.
    If you leave the lime/lemon juice on for a while longer, the flavor of the fish is greatly enhanced. The juice can be washed off after about 15 minutes (before it starts to react). A lot of water should not be used, however.
    We always fry tomato paste (along with onion etc.) Tomato paste that has been fried (Spanish ‘sofrito/-a’)is far less acidic/sour. It also helps thicken the gravy and makes it taste better. It is important to use good tomato paste (organic, European etc.)

  3. Ann
    November 18, 2015 / 1:09 pm

    I used Swai, easy, quick, and delicious. Thank you Chris.

  4. Cyril Peter
    May 27, 2015 / 11:53 am

    Can I use talapia? It’s all I have to work with at hand. Thanks!

  5. celia
    May 9, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    I just came across this in a search and tried it immediately. Came out perfect. I did use king fish. Loved the pictures to follow along with. Thank you!!!

  6. January 27, 2015 / 9:39 am

    best to fry in coconut oil, olive oil cannot be heated to high

  7. Gail
    November 2, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    Chris I don’t want to fry it, would it be the same cooking as normal ?

    • Dawn
      March 6, 2015 / 9:30 am

      Hello Chris & Team
      I love stewed fish & really appreciate yr site. With this recipe could u not eliminate the dredging with flour? Also I’m serving it with black-eyed peas rice but would love an idea for a veg on the side to round things out.Any tips. Thanks. Dawn

  8. January 17, 2014 / 11:54 pm

    Hey was just curious, I wanted to make this dish but I have fish fillets any suggestions

  9. Kerwyn archibald
    December 13, 2013 / 10:35 pm

    Awesome version.. the only thing missing to give it that next level taste is cinnamon powder just before adding the fish into the frying gravy.. it hits the g spot for sure 🙂

  10. Shirlyne Jo
    March 4, 2013 / 9:44 am

    Hi I tried this and loved it. My boyfriend said he loved it to. Keep up the good work

  11. clara
    January 12, 2013 / 6:44 pm

    Hi chris , i too used salmon and i substituted the paste with chilli sauce, i also added some raspberry vinegar…..delicious !!! thank you 🙂

  12. Shirley
    December 18, 2012 / 2:15 pm

    Thanks Chris. Can’t wait to try this receipe today. Don’t have tomato paste or browning so I will use the ketchup. Again thank you for this receipe.

  13. Richard
    April 12, 2012 / 10:21 am

    Man,ive been trying to get this recipe a long time now as my mom used to cook this every Good Friday..Thanks Chris..Cant wait to try it ..

  14. Thora
    March 14, 2012 / 12:55 pm

    Thanks Chris. I used the salmon and it came out delicious.

    Had it with dumplings and plantain.

    Love it!!!

  15. Loren
    October 28, 2011 / 1:43 pm

    Love the step by step directions – Looks delecious. I will definitely try this with. Good presentaton thanks again.

  16. kasey
    October 3, 2011 / 5:06 pm

    This wasnt at all yummy followed step by step used carite fish and the water is too little the fish absorbed all the sauce.

  17. praim
    September 19, 2011 / 10:23 am

    I usually take the eyes out when cleaning fish.

  18. charlene
    March 25, 2011 / 10:13 pm

    Nice thanks for these tips, fish has always been a challenge for me, now I have some great ideas.
    Thanks Chris

  19. March 16, 2011 / 8:08 pm

    Ummmm, haven't had stewed fish in ages. Makes me think I should make some this weekend.

  20. Marie Smith
    March 7, 2011 / 5:42 pm

    Thanks for your recipe I made it with Jack Fish and it was yummy. I didn't have any tomato paste or browning so I used ketchup and it turn out great.

  21. Guest
    January 8, 2011 / 7:45 pm

    Thanks for taking time to create and update this site. It is awesome to see and know that my daughter-totally americanised can go here and find recipes for things I don't even know about lol. I love the stew fish recipe. Reminds me of home 🙂

  22. Debbie
    December 3, 2010 / 9:24 am

    Looks lovely, Chris! Can I use smaller, but whole fish for this?

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