Make your own delicious Jamaican fish dish

Cornwall's new Caribbean restaurant shares a spicy Jamaican fish recipe for you to try at home.

The Spicy Pearl, an authentic new Caribbean restaurant, coming to Cornwall, Ont.

The Spicy Pearl in Cornwall, Ont., will offer authentic Caribbean dishes like this one. See the recipe below so you can try it at home. (Submitted)

For the past five years, Lee Theodore has dreamed of opening a strictly Caribbean restaurant in Cornwall, Ont., where he'd offer mouth-watering Haitian and Jamaican dishes.

After a few test runs including a pop-up catering service, his dream's about to be realized. Theodore and business partner Roger Caron are just a few days away from opening The Spicy Pearl on First Street E. in the Seaway City.

First, they served up a Jamaican-style dish of steamed fish with rice, peas and vegetables for CBC Radio's All In A Day.

Here's their recipe:

Rice and peas


  • Dry gungo peas, pre-soaked (also called pigeon peas).
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked.
  • 3 scallions, cut in full length thirds (you want to remove later).
  • 1 whole clove of garlic.
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper.
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme.
  • Salt, to taste.
  • 1 19 oz. can coconut milk.


Wash rice and put in a pot. Add 2:1 ratio of water to rice. Add coconut milk and gungo/pigeon peas. Bring rice to a boil until steam vents appear. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Don't stir until the rice is ready.



  • 1 fish per person (1 lb Tilapia).
  • Salt and pepper (to taste).
  • 1 tomato.
  • 2 scallions.
  • Corn starch.
  • Half a scotch bonnet.
  • Jamaican or West Indian seasonings.


Wash and rinse tilapia in water and vinegar. Score the fish every half-inch on both sides. Marinate with salt, pepper, Jamaican or West Indian seasonings (your preference) and other ingredients except corn starch. Let sit 2 hours minimum (overnight is best). Towel-dry fish. Lightly dredge in corn starch. Pan fry until golden-brown and crispy on both sides. Can also deep-fry. Do not discard your fish vegetables and base marinade — they'll be used later to steam fish. Set aside.


When frying fish in this way, move your pan. Do not let the fish surface settle. It will stick. Once cooked, remove fish from pan. Return vegetables/marinade to pan and sauté to perfection. Add a tablespoon of vinegar (you can substitute with lime or lemon). Add 2 tablespoons of water. Add fish back to pan. Cover and steam about five minutes. You can add half a teaspoon of chilli oil.

Vegetable medley


  • Jamaican yellow yam.
  • Traditional red yam.
  • Green banana, boiled with peel (don't use plantain).


Peel yams. Bananas are easier to peel after they're boiled. Just cut off the tips/ends and cut into stew-size chunks. All vegetables can go in the pot together. Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Because we are The Spicy Pearl, we add a scotch bonnet. Boil until fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Assemble as pictured and enjoy.


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