Jamaican-Style Fish Stew

4 to 6 Servings

40 minutes

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This simple skillet stew is rich with Caribbean flavors. It’s inspired by a dish called Jamaican run-down, which simmers mackerel in coconut milk, along with tomatoes, thyme and aromatics. The cooking liquid reduces to a luxurious sauce with spiciness and fruity notes from the habanero chili, tropical flavor from the coconut and brightness from the lime juice. Instead of mackerel, which can be difficult to source and also has an assertiveness that’s polarizing, we use mild, firm sea bass fillets. Serve with fried plantains or rice and beans.

4 to 6



Don’t touch your face if you’ve handled the habanero with bare hands, as there will be residual capsaicin on your fingers. If you have food-safe gloves, consider slipping them on before prepping the chili. And don’t use light coconut milk, as its flavor and consistency are too lean and watery.

40 minutes


  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced


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Connie H.
April 19, 2023
Best dish to showcase habanero flavour
Absolutely love this dish! I added 2 habaneros as the batch I had from the store were a bit weak. This dish truly showcases the wonderful fruitiness of habanero and the heat was a lovely combination with the rest of the ingredients. The sauce was delicious on rice. Can't say enough good things. We used frozen tilapia and added some arugula at the end. If you love habanero please try this, you won't be disappointed.
Laurel B.
May 20, 2022
The sauce was quite thin and didn't carry much flavor. I'd try it again but next time I'd add very little water to the coconut milk and maybe add a bit of fresh ginger to brighten it up.