Sunday, 21 June 2015

A more traditional, non spicy version of Jamaican Steamed Fish

I have been asked many times if all the dishes I prepare are spicy. I guess the answer to that would be “most” but not “all”. I grew up in a country where every house had Habanero Chili Peppers or “Scotch Bonnet” pepper plants (a type of Habanero) growing in the yard, and that pepper went in most of the dishes. This version of Steamed Fish is a more traditional Jamaican dish, and although it has Habanero Chili in it, it is not spicy (don’t be put off by the Habanero slices that you see in the photo). The flavors really just perfume the meat but for people who like to taste the flavor of the fish, without a lot of spiciness, this is the recipe to use. Traditionally, in Jamaica the fish is “steamed” in the sauce as a “one-pot” meal, along with vegetables but I have opted to use a steamer so only the flavorings in the steam permeate the fish and very delicately flavor it. Because I like very spicy dishes, this is not a dish I make often! I plated it with Korean Yam and Chinese Broccoli.
Steamed Fish, Korean Yam and Chinese Broccoli

1 1/4 lb fish (filet or whole). This is one and a quarter pounds not one, quarter pound of fish.
Salt, black pepper, ground allspice and any brand of dried, Jamaican fish seasoning you like
2 shallots
2 tbsp cooking oil or butter
3 cloves garlic
1 small Roma tomato, coarsely chopped
1 green Habanero Chili Pepper (green Habaneros are traditionally used as they are not mature or “ripe”, and therefore much less spicy)
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 stalks green onions (green part only)
½ tbsp vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp any sweet and hot chili tomato sauce

  1. Put the thyme sprigs and the slices of Habanero chili in the bottom of the steamer dish.
  2. Season the fish with the spices, both sides, according to taste
  3. Put the garlic, shallots, and green onions in a small chopper and coarsely chop all.
  4. Gently sauté the chopped mixture in the oil or butter over medium heat, taking care not to burn the garlic (it becomes bitter when it is burnt)
  5. When the shallots become transparent, add the vinegar, honey and tomato chili sauce along with the chopped Roma tomato. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Place the fish on top of the thyme sprigs and Habanero slices then pour the sautéed “sauce” over the fish.
  7. Place in steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish, or until it flakes easily when touched with a fork.
  8. Plate and top with some of the sauce from the steamer dish.


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