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Brown Stew Fish

Brown Stew is a beautiful way to cook fish and the flavor is as bright and colorful as the seasoning. It's traditionally prepared with the whole fish, including the head, which has such a nice flavor and texture when it is fried and then cooked down this way. The taste is sweet, buttery and perfect every time.

Download printable recipe:

Brown Stew Fish Recipe
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Ingredient Prep: 30 min

Seasoning time: 10 min

Cooking time: 40-45 min


  • 2-3 lbs fresh whole fish - cleaned and scaled w/gills removed


  • 1 medium onion - chopped

  • 1 medium bell pepper - chopped

  • 1 medium tomato - chopped

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic - chopped

  • 2-4 scallions - chopped

  • 1 cup carrots - thinly sliced or sticks

  • 1 cup potatoes - thinly sliced (optional)

  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper - whole (for frying)

  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper - chopped (minus seeds)

  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme

  • 2 Tbsp Stir It Up Organic Jamaican All Purpose Seasoning

  • 1 tsp whole pimento seeds

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp ground black pepper


  • 1 cup cooking oil

  • 2 Tbsp ketchup

  • 1 tsp browning sauce (for color) - make your own or shop for sauce

  • 3 Tbsp butter

1. Prep your seasoning and set aside. Cut the fish into sections if they are longer than the width of the pan and make shallow angled slices in thicker parts of the flesh for seasoning. Combine salt, pepper, and All Purpose, and rub the mixture all over the fish making sure to cover all of the skin, the inside, and all over the head.

2. Add the cooking oil to a heavy skillet with the whole scotch bonnet pepper on high heat until it's smoking hot. Add the seasoned fish and fry for 5-7 minutes per side. If it sticks, it's not ready to turn. Make sure the oil is very hot and you fry it long enough to cook completely. Once it's well fried remove it from the pan and set aside.

3. Remove most of the oil from the pan (and the pepper) but leave a couple of tablespoons in there because it is full of flavor. Place the fish back in and add all of the remaining seasoning over the top. Into the empty seasoning bowl add 2 cups of hot water, the ketchup, and the browning sauce, and stir to combine. Pour this mixture over the fish and shake the pan to make sure everything is incorporated, and nothing is sticking to the bottom. Lower the heat, add the butter on top, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes. Shake the pan every 10 minutes to prevent sticking, adjust the salt if needed, and use a spoon to baste the fish with the sauce during cooking.

4. When the seasoning cooks down and the sauce has thickened, it's done. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!

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