Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Jamaican Fish tea

Something Smells Fishy...

Don't let the name fool you, this is not a sweet fishy tea, its just a soup! I always imagined fish tea came out of a need to use a left over commodity. Just like bread pudding reclaims slate bread, and chicken bones create stock. I feel that fish heads and other parts were used to make a soup so that they would not be “wasted” but that’s just my theory. There has never been a thing wrong with turning trash to treasure. And this soup is quite a treasure.
Traditionally the soup is more of a broth and not as thick and rich as this one that I have made. Due to the fact that I’m not a fan of watery soups per se, I opted to add enough, pumpkin, sweet potato and dumplings to thicken things up.  Not only do they add to the viscosity, but they add to the color as well.The color of your fish tea is solely dependent on the ingredients you have added. The color of the liquid once the fish is finished cooking is a cloudy white/gray so if you don’t add colorful veggies like pumpkin or even carrots, your soup will keep that same color (still delicious though). I have had fish tea from several places and they all look different.

The beauty of this soup is really you add what you want. The first 10 ingredients are the staple. Everything after that is to your liking. With that said, the flavor is quite lovely. Boiling the whole fish in the water does flavor it immensely, and anything with allspice onions and hot peppers is a sure win.

P.S....I have no idea why its called Fish tea


Ingredients (Printable recipe)

2 whole snapper (cleaned, gutted, scaled)
10 cups water
1 chopped onion
2 stalk chopped scallion
2 garlic cloves shredded
2 sprigs of thyme
1 whole hot pepper (do not cut up)
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 ½  teaspoon salt (plus more depending on your taste)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cubed pumpkin
1 cho-cho chopped
2 cups sweet potato chopped

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water


  • Place the water in a pot to boil
  • Once boiling turn the heat on medium/low and add the two fish cook for 30 minutes
  • Remove the fish and set aside to cool
  • To the water turn the temperature back to medium high
  • Add chopped onion, scallion, garlic cloves, thyme, hot pepper, allspice, salt and black pepper
  • Allow that to simmer together then add the pumpkin, sweet potato and cho-cho
  • While that’s cooking prepare the dumplings but mixing ingredients together and rubbing small piece of dough between your hands to create long stringy dumplings, add to the pot
  • Once the fishes are cooled, de-bone the entire thing leaving only the meat of the fish.
  • Finally add the fish meat to the soup and give it a last stir and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Check for seasoning to make sure the salt levels are to your liking, then serve.

Greedy Tips:

  • If you want a more of a broth than a thick soup you can leave out the starchy veggies like the pumpkin and sweet potato, even the dumplings. You can go with carrots and cho-cho the color will also be different.
  • Some persons add butter to the soup, I think that’s unnecessary as fish naturally has fat in it. And once you boil the fish in the water the fat is released so there is no need for extra fat. 

Xoxo Greedygirl 

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