Liberian-styled Fried Fish

Spring/Summer 2021

This versatile dish may be made with whole or boneless fish and with or without hot peppers, depending on your preference.


Serves 2-3 people 


  • 2-3 whole scup or other local fish (if using a smaller fish such as whiting, increase the number of fish)
  • 1 large bouillon cube or 2 small cubes
  • 1 hot pepper such as a habanero
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • Black pepper to taste
  • A small pinch of salt (to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 bunches of sweet potato greens or fresh spinach chopped into thin pieces (sweet potato greens are more traditional, but they can be difficult to find in most grocery stores so spinach is often substituted)
  • 1 bell pepper diced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Cooked rice


Clean your fish by scaling, gutting, and removing the gills (you can also have your fishmonger do this for you).

Cut each fish into 3-4 chunks, depending on the size of your fish (you can remove the head if you would like).

Season the fish with bouillon, salt, and pepper.

Blend the hot pepper, 1 onion (sliced), and the garlic (optional) in a blender or food processor. Add this mixture to the fish and mix so that it coats the fish pieces. Let the fish marinate for approximately 15 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over high heat. You will be frying the fish so you want the oil to cover about half the fish.

Once the oil is hot (you can test this by putting a piece of onion in to see if it sizzles), carefully add your fish. Cook until the fish is golden brown on one side and then flip it over and cook the other side (approximately 4 minutes each side). Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook your fish in batches.

Once your fish is golden brown and cooked through, remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate with paper towels.

In a clean frying pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add your chopped sweet potato greens or spinach, the other onion (sliced), and your bell pepper (optional).

Cover the pan with a lid and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want your greens to burn.

Remove the lid and add about 2 tablespoons of water. Reduce the heat to low and add the fried fish on top of the greens. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, allowing the fish to steam. You can stir occasionally to prevent the greens from burning. Your dish will be done when your greens are nice and soft and tender and your fish is heated through.

Serve with white or brown rice.


NOTE: If you do not like spice, you can also replace the hot pepper with a bell pepper in the marinade, though you might use at least a little bit of hot pepper for flavor. 

“As fishermen, we harvest fish to feed people. It’s what we are good at, and now more than ever, as we navigate through the unprecedented pandemic, many Rhode Island families are in need of food.” 

– Fred Mattera, executive director of the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island (CFCRI).  

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