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!