May 7, 2014

Jamaican Style Steamed Fish and Okra


As I was going home to Jamaica from being in Canada for five months a friend asked me the question: “What is the first thing are you going to eat when you land?”  She further noted that a good steamed fish was her favourite when she gets to Jamaica. I wasn’t sure at the time exactly what my first dish would have been but ironically enough, when I got to the restaurant with my friend steamed fish with okra and bammy (cassava flatbread) was the order of the day for both of us. It was so great that it was only after I had completed my meal that I thought sharing this would be a good way of introducing how some ethno-cultural vegetables (ECVs) are used in this wonderful Jamaican style dish.  Incidentally I also recognise that these were some of the same ECVs that my current research at the University of Guelph covered. Since I did not consider taking a picture of my delicious meal before devouring it, I borrowed one form, a website that promotes Jamaica’s attractions through its culture, foods, etc.

So Jamaican steamed fish, usually cooked with butter, water, salt and pepper also includes other popular condiments and vegetables such as thyme, garlic, escallion, onions, carrots, tomato and maybe pumpkin or Irish potato. However, what really makes this dish authentically Jamaican are four key ingredients; okra, scotch bonnet pepper and bammy (cassava flatbread) and the seasoned chopped callaloo that is usually stuffed in the belly of the whole fish. These four ingredients have also been identified as ECVs in Canada and are included in the list being examined in my research.

So now you know. Go to the supermarkets and your ethnic stores and buy these ECVs, make your own Jamaican Style Steamed Fish and Okra wherever in the world you are.

Gayle W. (2014). Jamaican food tasting tour. Retrieved from:
Written by:
Keisha Davis
Masters Candidate, Capacity Development & Extension

University of Guelph
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