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Easy Jamaican Fish Tea Recipe

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Easy Jamaican Fish Tea Recipe | Image Source: The Lemon BowlEasy Jamaican Fish Tea Recipe | Image Source: The Lemon Bowl

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Soup… the official Jamaican Saturday dinner. Saturdays in Jamaica are just not quite complete without a steaming bowl of soup. You may know some of our more popular ones, like pumpkin and red peas, but another that I really love is Fish Tea.

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Yes, I said Tea, but Fish tea is soup. Why is it called Fish tea? Well, if you have ever had any Jamaican soup, you would have noticed that the consistency, when prepared right is quite thick. That’s not true for Fish Tea though. Fish tea is made with fewer ingredients and the consistency is very thin, much like a broth or tea. This is best had as an appetizer, or along with a side dish. It’s also a great option if you are feeling under the weather and can’t quite handle having anything heavy.

The fish Tea, despite its lesser ingredients, is quite nutritious though. I love it best with Doctorfish which is true for many. You can make this with just about any fresh fish though, not that I have ever tried, but I would probably avoid using oily fish and stick to white fish for this dish.

It is usually packed with staple ingredients like cho cho (chayote), okra, carrot, pumpkin, pimento (allspice), yellow yam, and sometimes spinners (dumplings). For spice, we add scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, escallion, thyme, garlic and even onion

You can choose what you like in your soup, even green bananas make a good addition.

Let’s get into the recipe.

Jamaican Fish Tea Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb Fresh Fish (Preferably Doctorfish)
  • 4 oz Pumpkin (Peeled and chopped into small cubes)
  • 8 oz Yellow Yam (Peeled and chopped into small cubes)
  • 1 Cho Cho (Chayote) (peeled and chopped into cubes)
  • 3 Okra (cut into small pieces)
  • 2 Carrots (diced)
  • 1 small Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 stalks Scallion
  • 1 tsp Salt (add more or less depending on your preference)
  • 4 cloves of Garlic (finely diced)
  • 3 springs Thyme
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • Handful of Pimento Berries
  • 1 pack Fish Tea Noodle Mix
  • 5 cups Water

PROCEDURE

Step 1: Washing your fish is the first and one of the most important steps. Gut, scale, and wash with a mixture of lime juice and vinegar. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: In a large soup pot, introduce the fish to 2½ cups of boiling water, along with onion, garlic, scallion, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring this flavorful mix to a boil over medium heat. Allow the fish to cook for 10 to 15 minutes until it reaches a tender consistency. Once cooked, delicately remove the fish from the pot and proceed to debone it.

Step 3: Now it's time to add the vegetables to the pot. Add your carrots, yams, pumpkin, cho cho, thyme, pimento, scotch bonnet pepper, and the remaining water to cover the ingredients. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil.

Step 4: Allow the dish to cook for about 30 minutes but midway through, add the okra and the deboned fish. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning according to your liking. Once everything is cooked to perfection, remove the scotch bonnet pepper and thyme stems.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy! By now your mouth will be watering from the fantastic aromas. Just Laddle your soup into bowls and enjoy. As Jamaicans, we sometimes have our Fish Tea with a few water crackers. 

Side note: I hate having to debone the fish, but it’s either that or dealing with the bones in the soup. However, you also have another option. If you don’t mind not having the actual pieces of fish to bite into in your Fish tea, you can choose to place the fish and the spices in a cheesecloth or cooking mesh, tie it then set it to boil. This way you won’t get any bones in your soup and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of deboning the fish either.

So there you have it, a simple and easy, yet super delicious recipe for our Jamaican Fish Tea. Try it and let us know what you think about it.

After you have had this delicious bowl of soup, your sweet tooth might need a treat and our ebook, Jamaican Sweet Treats, has several recipes of delicious Jamaican desserts you will love.

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References & Sources For Easy Jamaican Fish Tea Recipe

  1. Jamaican seafood dishes: 10 popular dishes with recipes (no date) My Island Jamaica. Available at: https://www.my-island-jamaica.com/jamaican_seafood_dishes.html (Accessed: 03 December 2023).
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