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Jamaican Seafood Dishes
10 Popular Dishes with Recipes

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jamaican_escoveitched_fishJamaican Seafood Dishes| Escovitch Fish

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Jamaican seafood dishes are always a hit. I’m sure you can guess how much Jamaicans love seafood, after all our national dish is ackee and saltfish. I am certain if you were to google search popular Jamaican dishes, you will find a couple of seafood options in the top ten. However, there is no need for that, here are 10 Jamaican seafood dishes that you must give a try.

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1. Escovitch Fish

This is one of the most common preparations for fish in Jamaica. However, with this dish, the fish is not the star of the show. The sauce is and because of this, you can use any fish of your choice.

The fish is cleaned and washed in lime juice, seasoned, and then put aside. Oil, vinegar, carrot, onion, pepper, and pimento are the ingredients you'll need to create the sauce in a saucepan. You then cook the onion and carrot until they are soft. Fry the fish until golden brown on both sides. Once finished, put the fish on a plate and top it with the Escovitch sauce. Before eating, cover the dish and leave it for at least 30 minutes.

You can find the full recipe here.

2. Roasted Fish

This dish is usually prepared with a large fish and is not quite so common to be prepared at home but is often sold on the street side, at festivals or made at large family or work outdoor gatherings. To prepare simply stuff the fish with various fresh veggies and seasonings. The fish is then wrapped in foil and put on a grill, outdoor fire, or coals to cook.

3. Steamed Fish

Jamaican Steamed Fish with OkrasJamaican Steamed Fish

Behind escovitch fish, steamed fish is the next most common way to prepare fish in Jamaica, plus it is considered a healthier dish for those who are more health conscious. Coconut milk, okras, pumpkin, fresh and dried spices, and pepper are some of the ingredients you will need. Once you have added those to a pot and cooked for a few minutes, you can add your already cleaned and seasoned fish to the pot and cook until tender.

4. Fish Tea

Fish tea is more of a broth than a typical Jamaican soup. Carrots, cho cho, Irish potato, green bananas, pumpkin, and yam are some of the most essential ingredients to have on hand when making fish tea. Fresh spices such as scallion, garlic, and thyme are also required. Making an excellent fish tea requires lightening the soup by reducing the food content. It should have the consistency of a broth. To reduce the risk of choking on bones, place the fish in a bag before putting it in the pot.

5. Ackee and Saltfish

ackee_and_saltfish.jpgJamaican Ackee and saltfish

This as you may know is the island’s national dish. Making this dish is quick and easy. Simply soak the saltfish for a few hours to get rid of excess salt. Wash and clean the ackee before boiling them until tender. Use cooking oil to sauté tomatoes, scallions, onions, sweet peppers, and thyme in a pan. Add the saltfish and cooked ackee to the pot and stir to combine them well.

Check out the full recipe here.

6. Curry Coconut Shrimp

jamiacan_curried_shrimpJamaican Curry Coconut Shrimp

Jamaicans love adding coconut milk to the majority of their curry dishes, so it’s no surprise that curry coconut shrimp is one of the go-to shrimp dishes. To prepare shell and devein shrimp, keep the tail intact. Then in a hot skillet add oil, curry powder, your favourite fresh herbs and seasonings, stir for a few minutes then add coconut milk. After the mixture has started to boil, add your shrimp and allow to cook until tender and pink.

7. Pickled Fish (using salt fish or salt mackerel)

Pickled saltfish or salt mackerel if you choose, is probably the quickest dish you will ever make, as it takes no more than 7 minutes. To make it, soak your saltfish for a few hours. Remove any excess skin, bones, and scales from the fish, then shred it with your fingers into tiny bits. Sauté fresh herbs and seasonings like onions, thyme, and pepper in a pan. Add your saltfish to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes to incorporate all of the seasoning flavours.

See the full recipe here.

8. Brown Stew Fish

jamaican_brown_stew_fish.PNGJamaican Brown Stew Fish

Brown stew fish is another tasty fish dish and goes quite well with many sides. To make add a small quantity of oil to a skillet, let it heat for a few seconds, and then add all of the chopped seasonings to the pot with the exception of the Irish potatoes and carrots. Add a few drops of browning to some water in a tiny cup or dish, then pour the mixture into the pot. Only enough of the mixture should be used to cover the veggies that are already in the pot. The fish is then added to the pot, covered, and cooked over medium heat. Most fish can be completely cooked in less than 10 minutes.

See the full recipe here

9. Curry Crab

Curry crab is not much of a household dish here in Jamaica, but is most commonly found being sold in buckets on the street side. Interested in making them on your own? Grab your crabs, immerse them in some water and vinegar then scrub them clean with a brush. Pimento seeds, fresh thyme, and a lot of curry powder are then added to a big pot with some vegetables and heated oil. The next step is to add water and coconut milk. Bring them up until they are just above the crustaceans' heads. This is the time to gently lower your crabs into the boiling liquid. It might take 10 to 15 minutes for small crabs to be ready, but it might take 20 to 25 minutes for bigger crabs.

See the full recipe here.

10. Peppered Shrimp

jamaica_parishes_st_elizabeth_shrimpJamaican Peppered Shrimp

This is a popular Jamaican street food that will complement any appetizer selection. Simply stir sauté your garlic, ginger, salt, and scotch bonnet pepper in some oil for about 2 minutes before adding your clean shrimp with the shells still on and stirring for another 3 minutes. Finally, add some vinegar and stir to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until done.

Interested in other Jamaican dishes? Here is a list of 60.

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References & Sources For Jamaican Seafood Dishes

  1. Catch of The Day | 5 Ways Jamaicans Prepare Fish. (2023, March 24).
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