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Shared by Christina Whittaker

Steamed Red Snapper with Pumpkin and Okra 

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 30 minutes

Shared by Christina Whittaker

Whole steamed red snapper served over pumpkin, okra, and carrots on serving platter next to rice and peas and a green salad.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Chaya Rappoport. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Steamed Red Snapper with Pumpkin and Okra 

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 30 minutes

Family Journey

Old Harbour Bay, JamaicaBronx, NYDavie, Florida
Brooklyn, NY

When Christina visits her aunt Lavern, she makes this steamed red snapper. A typical Jamaican recipe, this dish is one that’s greater than the sum of its parts: a lightly seasoned red snapper steams until it’s buttery and moist, pumpkin and okra cook in a spicy, lime-brightened sauce, and the whole thing takes just 20 minutes. Christina serves the whole fish on a platter with rice and peas like her aunt Lavern does. Note: the all purpose seasoning makes extra, which can be used in the rice and peas and in all sorts of stews and braises. 

Read more about Christina’s family in “Finding Identity at a Jamaican Shabbat Table” and try her recipes for rice and peas, oxtail stew and coconut gizzada tartlets.  


For the All-Purpose Seasoning:

  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

For the fish:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • ½ white onion, sliced into half moons 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced into thirds 
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 small green pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 cup cubed pumpkin or kabocha squash
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias 
  • 4 large pieces okra, sliced in half 
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 5-6 allspice berries
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning (see below)
  • 2 teaspoons Grace Fish & Meat Sauce 
  • 2 fresh, whole red snapper fish, around 2 lbs. each
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 teaspoons Grace fish seasoning
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
Main Courses


  • Step 1

    Combine all the ingredients for the all-purpose seasoning in a bowl and mix well. Set aside until needed.

  • Step 2

    Heat the olive oil in a 12” stainless steel braising pan, or a 12” skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and scallions to the pan, stirring until fragrant and translucent, 2-3 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Add the tomato, peppers, diced pumpkin, carrots, and okra to the pan. Add one cup of water along with the lime juice to the pan and cook for around 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften and the liquid is bubbling. Add the allspice berries, smoked paprika, kosher salt and all-purpose seasoning to the pan. Stir to combine. Add the Grace Fish & Meat sauce and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Season the fish inside and out with kosher salt. Place the whole fish on top of the vegetables. Top with the butter and the fish seasoning. Use a knife to poke one or two holes in the scotch bonnet pepper and add to the pot.

  • Step 5

    Let cook, covered, for about 10-12 minutes. While cooking, occasionally uncover and spoon the sauce over the fish. Season to taste and serve hot.