This is not a tea as the name implies. In the strictest sense, this Jamaican fish tea is a light soup or a seasoned fish broth.
Interestingly, this is a favorite of some Jamaican men who like to drink this broth giving the perception that they are some kind of "Artical Don" of sorts.
Let me explain. An "Artical Don" is one who is culturally Rastafarian, or even more precise, a Rasta-leaning leaning individual not necessarily following the religious principles and tenets, but who is very much interested in the diet and other lay practices, such as taking good care of one's "structure" (body), a fundamental Rasta tenet.
Sometimes I wonder how these names --fish tea--come about, too. After all, we do have more than enough hot beverages not even close to fish tea that to apply this name out of the blue is questionable. Yah Mon!
Nevertheless, the difference between fish tea and fish soup is thickness, or the amount of ingredients that's added to the soup.
Before I go any further, let me say this...I believe in modernizing some of these fish tea recipes because some of them do need a revival and pep, if you will...as fish tea does. Not like the way the old folks made fish tea with the bones in the fish, because back then fish fillet was not affordable...or available for that matter. Whether you agree or not, no one likes fish bones, except dogs.
And, simply put, we Jamaicans don't make fish tea for dogs. Yeah...every now and then Rover may get a little bit of the fish tea but by and large, we feed dogs 'Tun Cornmeal' with salt fish tail.
So here is my modern Jamaican fish tea version.
In a stock pot, add fish, onion, thyme, and salt. Cook the fish for about ten minutes. Mean while wash green bananas and then cut each banana into halves.
Next use a strainer to remove the fish from the pot before the pieces get separated. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, except the butter. Cook for another ten minutes then check to see if the green bananas are soft. If not, wait until they are and then add butter and fish. Simmer for another ten minutes.
Remember, this is your Jamaican fish tea...add any other ingredients you choose next time you make this broth.
If you would like to make this into fish soup, do not remove the fish from the pot as stated earlier.
Add potatoes, spinners, cooking tomatoes, and noodles to the pot and let the the soup simmer until thick enough to your liking. Nowadays you can get fish soup packets from your favorite Jamaican grocery as well.
Add a pack and enhance the flavor of your Jamaican fish soup.
Serve in 8 oz cups.