Friday, 1 May 2015

A Different type of Jamaican Brown Stewed Fish

Some of the seasonings you need!

I hate cooking fish but do so because it’s a healthy option to include in the diet. I tend not to fry it but look for ways to steam or stew it in a tasty sauce. One such way is to make Jamaican Brown Stew Fish. Traditionally, the fish is seasoned then fried in oil, and then stewed in the sauce. However, unless you have a powerful kitchen exhaust fan system that vents to the exterior, your kitchen will smell of fried fish for days after. This is an alternative method that prevents the kitchen from becoming “smelly”.  I have “fused” it with brown rice, Vietnamese homemade Dua Cha (pickles), pickled Jalapenos and lightly blanched Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan). However, any combination of vegetables can be used. It is traditionally served in the Caribbean with rice, fried Plantain, and steamed Chayote Squash, Carrots, and Cabbage.

1 ½- 2 lb Red Snapper, cleaned and cut in half (I guess any fish could be used but I like Snapper)
Grace Fish Seasoning plus a little extra salt and black pepper.
Cornstarch or flour to sprinkle over fish
2 tbsp cooking oil + oil to coat the fish
3 medium sized shallots (or 1 medium sized onion)
3 cloves garlic
Sliced green or red bell pepper (optional)
2 ripe tomatoes
2-3 green onions, chopped
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
4-5 whole allspice grains
A small piece of Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tbsp Jamaican pickapeppa sauce
2 tbsp of Maggi tomato chili sauce
½ tsp honey or sugar
1 tsp vinegar (I like the Japanese Mirin or Marukan brand as it’s slightly less acid than ordinary white vinegar)
2 tbsp white cooking wine OR Chicken broth OR Water

1. Put the garlic cloves, Habanero pepper, shallots or onion, green onions in a small chopper, and chop till fine. Put in a small bowl. Add the sprigs of thyme, and allspice grains to this bowl (also add some sliced green or red bell pepper if you like). Puree the two Plum Tomatoes in a small chopper/blender, and put in a separate bowl. Add the Worcester sauce, Pickapeppa sauce, vinegar, Maggi sauce, white cooking wine, and honey to this bowl. The point of keeping the bowls separate is that the onion mixture has to be sautéed first so that the flavors infuse the cooking oil before the tomato mixture is added.

2. Score the Red Snapper halves on either side by making one or two slashes down to the bone. Season liberally with the Grace Fish seasoning, rubbing the seasoning mixture (and a little extra salt and black pepper) in the scored areas, sprinkle a little cornstarch or flour over the fish, then rub some oil over both sides of the fish. Place on a rack under the broiler and cook till the fish starts to char (I put it close to the broiler so that the outside chars quickly but the inside does not cook or dry out). Remove from broiler.

3. Put the 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan, and sauté the contents of the bowl with the onions, garlic etc. Once they give off an aroma, add the contents of the bowl with the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil then place the 2 pieces of partially broiled fish in the sauce to coat both sides. Cover and turn down heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until fish is cooked. Plate and pour sauce over the fish. Eat with rice and vegetables of your choice.

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