Escovitch fish is very popular in Jamaica. Almost any fish, whether whole or fillet can be prepared in this manner. You have the option on batter frying the fish or frying without batter. I grew up on escovitch whole fish with no flour/batter, it all depends on your preference if you ask me. As I got older, I realized a lot of Jamaicans use flour when making it, especially with fillet fish. I find that fillet fish is better prepared with the batter if you plan on frying it.
The recipe used, I got from America’s Test Kitchen The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook and made tiny modifications.
The lovely thing about this dish is that you can have it any time of the day, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can serve your battered fry fish with the Jamaican Escovitch Sauce, tarter sauce, any sauce of your liking or even sauce less if you prefer. I had this with a mixture of the escovitch sauce and barbeque sauce. It may sound odd but it was really tasty and spicy!
Oh, yes! This is a good time to state that if you choose to use the escovitch sauce, beware it is spicy! If you make it yourself then you can make it as spicy as you can handle. Typically, we make this sauce very spicy as it contains a lot of scotch bonnet hot peppers.
Jamaican Escovitch Fish – Batter-Fried Fish (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 tbsp oat flour optional
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1¼ cup seltzer or carbonated water
- fish of your choice cut in chunky slices
- salt and pepper
- olive oil or peanut oil
- Rinse fish with water. Pat dry with a piece of paper towel and season with a small amount of salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, oat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the seltzer/carbonated water until there are no lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat. Dip the fish into the batter, let excess batter drip into the bowl before transferring to hot oil. The batter will be a little soupy, that is ok. Fry until the batter starts to turn golden, about a minute or so depending on the temperature of the oil. Flip fillet so that all sides are fried golden. Place fried fish on a wire rack or plate. Repeat this process with the rest of the fish.
- Dip fried fish into the batter, let excess batter drip into the bowl before transferring to hot oil. Place double-fried fish on a wire rack or plate. Repeat for the remaining fish.
- This step is optional. You may repeat the previous step if you prefer to have a thicker crust. I find that the double-dip worked really well but I personally preferred the triple dip.
- Serve with Traditional Jamaican Escovitch Sauce, tarter sauce or your preferred sauce.
Jamaican Escovitch Sauce
- 1 cup vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup julienne carrots
- 2 medium onions cut into onion rings
- scotch bonnet pepper to taste
- 8 pimento grains
- Bring vinegar to a slight boil. Add salt, carrots, onions, pimento grains and pepper to your spicy/heat tolerance. When the vinegar starts to boil, remove from heat and pour over fried fish or chicken.
- Store sauce in airtight container and store in the cupboard.