Jamaican Run Down

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 20 mins

| Total Time: 30 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Caribbean cuisine is a reflection of the region's tropical climate and diverse cultural influences, inheriting from indigenous, Dutch, French, British, Africans, Asians and East Indian peoples. The flavors are bold, incorporating spices that for centuries were traded through Caribbean ports, and balanced by sweetness from tropical fruits like coconut and mango, or various derivatives of sugar, such as molasses and cane juice. The result is that, even simply prepared dishes like this Jamaican Run Down stew taste sublime.

Jamaicans call this fish stew "Run Down" because the fish is typically cooked until the fish falls apart in the bowl. Our recipe works equally well with cod, halibut, swordfish, rockfish or even salmon. Buy what is freshest and fits your budget and throw it in the pan. This Jamaican Run Down recipe uses our all-purpose Island Spice blend to season a rich coconut-tomato broth. If you like spicy heat, add a little Scotch Bonnet pepper to the pot for authentic flavor.


  •  1-1.5 lbs fish: cod, halibut, snapper, salmon, or tilapia all work well, cut into large chunks

  • 1 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of low-salt diced tomatoes

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of coconut milk

  • 1.5 Tbsp Piquant Post Island Spice Blend

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)

  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges (optional)

  • 2 bay leaf (optional)

  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)

  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)

  • Piquant Post Scotch Bonnet Pepper, to taste (optional - these are hot, start small 1/8 to 1/4 tsp) or use red pepper flakes


Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces or ~2" cubes.

Because Scotch Bonnet pepper flakes are hotter than the typical pizzeria red pepper flakes, start with a small amount until you've tasted a recipe cooked with them. We recommend 1/8 to 1/4 tsp as a starting point depending if you like mild to medium heat. Add more flakes from there if you like fiery hot dishes.

Also, please be careful when cooking with Scotch Bonnet pepper flakes. Make sure to cook with Med or Med-Low heat on your pan as you don’t want to vaporize the natural oils in the Scotch Bonnet peppers. Do not cook pepper flakes if your oil is smoking, as the airborne oils of chili peppers can irritate your eyes and throat. Be safe and start with lower heat than typical frying or sautéing. 

Lastly, optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.


Pat fish dry with paper towels then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut into large chunks and set aside. Prep all other ingredients. 

Preheat a skillet or pan on Med and add oil. Add onion and cook until golden, ~5 mins. Add garlic, bay leaf, Island Spice blend and Scotch Bonnet Pepper, and stir to mix. Cook for 3 mins, stirring infrequently. 

Add tomatoes, coconut milk and fish then stir mixture. Bring to a rolling simmer then turn down to Med-Low and cook for 10-12 mins or until broth slightly thickens and fish is fully cooked. 

Serve stew in bowls and garnish with scallions and lime wedges. Serve with crusty bread. 

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • For a slightly lighter calorie version, use light coconut milk.

  • Can you use fresh tomatoes? Sure, but only if they are perfectly ripe. We recommend using canned tomatoes because they are picked and packed at peak ripeness. Overall, they will taste better than store tomatoes unless tomatoes are locally in-season. 

  • Don't eat fish? No problem! Try substituting chicken or pork in the stew. Cut the meat into 2" cubes, season with salt & pepper, then brown in a Med heat skillet for ~4 mins on each side before adding to the stew. You will finish the recipe per our instructions, simmering the meat stew for a couple extra minutes beyond what the fish recipe calls for to make sure the meat is fully cooked.

  • To make vegan version, substitute cauliflower, squash, eggplant, a veggie medley and/or tofu in for the fish. You might roast veggies in the oven or pan before adding to the stew so that they're tender.

  • Looking for plant-based / vegan recipes to use our Island Spice blend? Try our stunning Sweet Potato Cakes with Coconut and Lime Sauce or Portobello and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo recipes.

  • Our Island Spice blend is a flavor utility knife. Use it directly on meats as a BBQ rub, add it to rice before cooking for a twist, or try it on shrimp.

  • Try our flavor-packed Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe instead for an easy weeknight meal.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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