Spicy Mackerel with Green Bananas


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    greedy people

Appears in

Caribbean Food Made Easy

Caribbean Food Made Easy

By Levi Roots

Published 2009

  • About

The best breakfast in the world – just ask any Jamaican. Make it with mackerel fillets if you prefer, but don’t cook them for so long (only about 4 minutes). It’s hard to peel green bananas – here I’m giving you all the banana peeling tips my Granny gave me.


  • 2 whole mackerel, gutted
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 green (unripe) bananas
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 hot red chilli (ideally Scotch bonnet), deseeded and finely chopped
  • leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme

To Serve

  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • lime wedges


  1. Cut the head and tail from the mackerel and cut the body of each into about 3 chunks. Cover with half the lime juice and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the ends from the bananas, cut through the skin down the edges – north, south, east and west – and then put them in a bowl covered with just-boiled water for 15–20 minutes.
  3. Put the mackerel into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, until completely tender (6–8 minutes). Lift out with a slotted spoon. Remove and discard the bones and skin, if liked, and break the flesh into good meaty flakes. Sprinkle with the allspice, the rest of the lime juice and salt and pepper.
  4. Remove the skin from the bananas. It isn’t easy and you’ll need a small, sharp knife to help you at times, but try to prise it off with your hands. Now put the bananas into a pan with enough water to cover. Add 1 tbsp. of the oil to the water and bring to the boil. Cook the bananas, covered, on a rolling boil until tender (it should take about 15 minutes).
  5. Put the remaining oil into a large frying pan and heat. Gently fry the onion until softening, then add the tomatoes, garlic, chilli and thyme, season and cook until everything is soft. Add the mackerel, gently stir and heat through.
  6. Lift the bananas out of their water with a slotted spoon. You’ll notice brown bits on them (though most will be in the water, which will be brown). Brush off any brown bits and cut into diagonal slices. Stir into the mackerel and serve sprinkled with the coriander and accompanied by lime wedges.