Today I’m taking you to the vibrant beach spot called Hellshire beach. It’s the little beach in St Catherine, Jamaica that is popular with locals and tourists too.
On the weekends especially, the beach is full and you are spoilt for choice as to what to eat. There you can have fish cooked in a variety of ways. Accompanying the fish is festival, bammy, plantains, hard dough bread, crackers, and even dumplings.
Such a pity we can’t be on the beach today. Instead, I will show you how to make Hellshire style steamed fish and okra in your own kitchen anytime you feel like having it.
You and your dish will take centre stage and I am sure you will want to make it over and over again. Once you make it once you will see how easy it is. The cook time is only about 15 minutes, that is taking into consideration that the fish must already have been descaled and cleaned.
Oh, just the thought of it right now is making me salivate! The food there on the beach is amazing! Of course, the weather is hot but there are cooling waters and food available to eat when you are hungry. What more could you want? We usually spend the whole day there from after breakfast time. It is one of the best places to be in Jamaica.
Now back to the steamed fish recipe, because that is what you are here for right? RIGHT! Let’s get into it.
What you will need to make Hellshire style steamed fish
2 fish (whole or with the head removed if you prefer)
8 -10 okra washed and cut into slices
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thick chunks
150g pumpkin washed, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 large onion, diced
2 sprigs of thyme or a tsp dried thyme
1 tblsp butter or margarine
6 cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato, chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 stalks spring onion or escallion chopped
1/2 bell pepper cut into strips
1 scotch bonnet pepper, left whole
1 stock cube or cock soup or fish tea mix
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups hot water, more might be needed
To Prepare the Hellshire style steamed fish and okra
Place a large frying pan on the stove with the butter in and put the heat to medium. Add the onion, escallions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic to sauté for a minute or two. Stir.
Add the fish. Leave on each side for 2 minutes. From this point on, you should really try not to turn the fish over again to prevent it from breaking.
Add all the other ingredients with the exception of the soup pack (cock soup or fish tea mix)and water.
Stir them around in the pan, trying to avoid smashing the fish.
Now it’s time to add the water and stock or cock soup or fish tea mix. Place a lid on the pan and allow the fish and veggies to simmer for about 10 minutes. Be sure to check on the pan, to see whether there is need for more water, depending on whether the veggies are near cooked or cooked. This is especially important because the pumpkin might take a little longer to cook than all the other veggies.
When all is cooked, you could add Jamaican excelsior water crackers which is a typical accompaniment to the dish. It absorbs some of the juicy sauce and is really yummy to eat. With it, you need no other carbs.
So there you have a taste of Jamaican beach style food.
It’s funny too that Jamaicans call this ‘steamed fish’ when in fact the method of cooking is not steaming at all! Lol. Jamaicans are funny like that. Anyway, I hope you try this recipe and give us your take on things.
If you prefer, you can follow this video to see how to make it yourself at home.
Don’t forget to tell us about your experience of cooking fish, and whether you have ever visited Hellshire beach and had a fish dish there.
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Jo and Leisa
Other Jamaican recipes you might enjoy