Jamaican Steam Fish with Okra
Steam Fish with Okra is one of Jamaica’s top seafood dishes and is well-known as a meal that does the body good. This is because it’s not only flavourful and filling but also healthy. In addition to being appetizing, this hot and steamy seafood meal is naturally invigorating. As such, Jamaican steam fish with okra is praised by many as a highly potent dish that enhances libido. Overall, when it’s properly prepared it’s a seafood favourite that hits the spot every time.
Anyone who has had a nice plate of Jamaican steam fish with okra will say it’s one of the most satisfying meals that put you in a good mood. The only problem is, some people have only enjoyed this dish at a Jamaican seaside restaurant. In many cases, this is because they have never learnt how to prepare it well at home.
Today, we’ll solve that problem with my ultimate Jamaican Steam Fish and Okra recipe. This succulent seafood specialty is what you’ll need to add lots of delicious ‘spice’ to your life.
How to choose the best fish
Cook the best Jamaican Steam Fish meal by using the freshest ingredients. Using fresh seafood is a must when preparing steam fish. If you live in the Caribbean, it’s best to buy your fish right by the sea. I often purchase fish from my favourite seaside vendor in Portmore, Jamaica. However, you can purchase fish from your local grocery store too.
Before you buy fish from the grocery store, always check for a few things. First, ensure your fish is within the ‘best before’ period. Next, check the quality of your fish by making sure the eyes are clear and vibrant. Lastly, for your convenience, it helps to purchase fish that is scaled and gutted.
Jamaicans prefer to prepare steamed fish using whole red or yellowtail snapper fish. However, you can use almost any type of white fish for this recipe. Some popular alternatives to snappers are Doctor fish, grunt, grouper, lionfish and kingfish. Some delicious side dishes that go perfectly with steamed fish are – rice and peas, boiled ground provisions, steamed bammies and festivals.
Follow my recipe below, Bless up and enjoy it!
Jamaican Steam Fish with Okra Recipe
- 3 - 4 medium red or yellow tail snapper fish or sliced kingfish
- 1 - 2 tsps salt to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 - 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium irish potato julienned (optional)
- pumpkin diced (optional)
- 1 medium carrot julienned
- ½ tsp scotch bonnet pepper or to taste
- 5 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 small onion
- 1 - 2 stalk scallion
- ½ large bell pepper
- 1 sprig thyme
- 6 - 8 pimento seeds
- ½ - 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ - 1 cup water
- 8 -12 okras chopped
- 6 - 8 Jamaican 'tough' water crackers
'NO MSG' Steam Fish Seasoning Mix
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp allspice powder
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder pure powder, no salt added
- 1 tsp onion powder pure powder, no salt added
- 1/2 tsp oregano dried
- 1/2 tsp corriander leaves
- 1/2 tsp basil dried
- Prepare the fish by scaling, gutting and washing thoroughly in lime or vinegar water. (Go check out my YouTube Video to learn how to scale and clean fish at home!)
- In a small bowl, make a dry rub with 1 - 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves.
- Use the dry rub to season the inside and outside of the fish, then set the fish aside.
- Wash and prep the fresh seasoning and vegetables then set aside.
- Wash and prep the okra then set aside in a separate bowl.
- In a large, wide skillet, heat the cooking oil for 1 minute.
- Add the diced pumpkin, chopped onions, garlic, thyme, pimento, scotch bonnet, bell peppers, carrots and irish potato, then cover the pot and let cook on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Do not add the okras at this point. The okras are added later on in the recipe.
- Use a large spoon to spread the sautéed vegetables and seasoning evenly in the pot, to form a 'bed' for the fish. Add the butter to the center of the pot and let melt.
- Lay the fish side by side on the bed of seasoning and vegetables, then add ½ cup coconut milk. Cover the pot to let the fish steam on medium-high heat for 1 - 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the dried and powdered ingredients listed above for the 'Steam Fish Seasoning Mix'. (This 'made from scratch' Steam Fish seasoning gives you a healthy and flavourful MSG-free dish.) If you have a packaged 'fish tea soup mix' that does not contain MSG, you may use it instead of this mix.
- Sprinkle the 'steam fish mix' evenly over all the fish.
- Add a ¼ - ½ cup of water to the pot, cover, and let the fish steam for 5 minutes.
- Stay close to the pot during the cooking process and keep the heat between medium and medium-low.
- After 5 minutes, spoon the hot liquid in the pot over the top of the fish, to help cook the fish evenly. (Go check out my YouTube video for a demonstration of this technique.)
- Check the pot every 3-5 minutes to ensure the liquid hasn’t dried out. Total cooking time is approximately 35 - 40 minutes depending on the size of the fish. If you use sliced Kingfish, the fish will cook sooner. Test the fish for 'doneness' in about 15 minutes. (please see below how to check if the fish is fully cooked)
- When the liquid has run low, add another ¼ cup of water.
- After about 20 minutes, add the okra to the pot and then cover it.
- After 10 minutes, add the crackers, then spoon some of the fish sauce in the pot over both the fish and the crackers.
- Cover the pot and let it steam for 5 minutes more.
- Stick a fork in the center of the fish to test if it is completely cooked. The fish is fully cooked when the flesh down to the bone is white.
- Serve your delicious and healthy Steam Fish and Okra meal with your choice of rice, ground provisions, bammy or festivals.
- Bless up & enjoy it!