Thursday, 7 May 2015

Jamaican Steamed Fish in Coconut Milk

Fish topped with pickled Jalapenos and accompanied by Chayote, Carrots and Korean Yam

This is a dish my Mother would make whenever I was recovering from some illness. She was a firm believer in the nutritional goodness of fish. It is a very delicately flavored dish, not spicy but also not bland, and with an added sweetness that comes from cooking in coconut milk. I use a whole Red Snapper but any thick, firm fish filet would also work just fine. This is a very quick dish to prepare. I usually have it with steamed vegetables like chayote squash, carrots and Korean Yam. This method of cooking in coconut milk is very common throughout the Caribbean, and features prominently in Rastafarian cooking. If one wanted, this dish can easily be converted to a curry by the addition of curry powder, sauteed with the scallion greens, prior to adding the tomato puree and coconut milk. It would then be similar to a Malayan Rendang.


1 shallot
1 Tbsp Coconut oil
3 cloves garlic
1 ½ lb Fish (whole or a thick filet.)
Grace Caribbean Traditions Fish Seasoning (though I would imagine Old Bay Seasoning would do just as well)
A handful of Scallion greens
1 Roma tomato, cut in wedges
½ cup thick Coconut milk ( I like the Badia brand)
1 Wylers chicken bouillon cube
4-5 slices Habanero pepper


  1. Season the fish liberally with the Fish Seasoning. Coat with oil and put on a rack in a broiler pan
  2. Cut the shallot and Roma tomato into small wedges, leave the garlic cloves whole. Thinly slice the scallion greens.
  3. In a frying pan or wok, heat the coconut oil, and sauté the garlic, tomato wedges, and shallots for about 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat. Take them out of the oil and put them in a bowl. Put the scallion greens and the habanero slices in the oil so that they can gently infuse the oil with their flavors as it cools, and you are preparing the fish.
  4. Puree the sautéed garlic, shallots and tomatoes in a blender.
  5. Crumble the bouillon cube into the coconut milk
  6. Place the fish under a broiler for about 5 minutes while you prepare the sauce. On medium high heat, sauté the scallion greens and habanero that is already in the frying pan or wok. Add the tomato puree, and the seasoned coconut milk. Bring to a boil while stirring.
  7. Remove the fish from under the broiler and carefully place it in the bubbling sauce. Cover and steam for about 5-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Baste with sauce intermittently while cooking.
  8. Plate and enjoy.

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