Like so many things in life, you have to try it at least once. One of them is Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish. Most people who try it, love it.
What is Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish
Ackee is a yellow coloured fleshy fruit grown on a tree. Saltfish is actually codfish that has been preserved by salting it. Sometimes other types of fish are used.
Ackee and Saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. It is one of those things that you must try if you visit Jamaica. The ackee itself doesn’t have much of a distinctive flavour but when it is accompanied by the colourful and flavoursome vegetables, herbs and spices, as well as the fish, the flavour is amazing!
Jamaican ackee and saltfish can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a snack with crackers. I have even seen it served as appetisers at a posh formal event.
You can easily spot the dish as it is bright yellow sprinkled with the colours of sweet peppers, thyme, escallion and garlic, etc. Sometimes vegans are catered for with a vegan version of ackee and saltfish which is just as amazing as the original.
Here is what the unopened ackee looks like on the tree. The red bit is the outer pod that is not eaten. The fleshy yellow bit is on the inside and will be ripe and ready to eat once the red pod opens naturally.
What does Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish look like and what is it served with?
As I said, the dish can be quite colourful and is usually served with fried or boiled dumplings, or fried plantains, or rice, or boiled yams, potatoes and bananas. In fact, you could be served a combination of two or more accompaniments with your Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish dish. If you do a google search, you will see quite a few lovely dishes served up.
Ackee and Saltfish with fried dumplings
Ackee and saltfish served with rice and mixed vegetables
And here is ackee and saltfish served with boiled green bananas and broccoli with tomato slices. Yummy dinner that is. Quite unusual for some, but this is such a common thing for many from those in the Caribbean community. It is a signature dish in most Jamaican households.
Below, I share what you need to make Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish and also the method for having a good go at it and making it a success, It really is a simple recipe so really easy to make.
The ackee plant needs year-round good weather and plentiful rainwater in order to flourish and bear. For that reason, here in the UK, we rely on canned ackees. At home in Jamaica though, people have their own ackee trees or can easily source ackees from their neighbours.
This is what the ackee tree looks like when it is laden with ackees
Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish recipe
1 can Ackee (540 g)
1 tsp dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ tsp black pepper
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion cut into rings
⅓ scotch bonnet pepper or 1 tsp scotch bonnet sauce
⅓ red bell pepper, cut into strips
⅓ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
⅓ green bell pepper, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, crushed or 1 tsp garlic paste
200g saltfish (salted codfish)
5 tbsp vegetable oil
- Open can of ackee and drain in a colander.
- Rinse saltfish in running water to get rid of some of the salt. Place in a saucepan with water and boil for 7 minutes. Drain. Shred the saltfish and leave the pieces in cold water whilst the vegetables are being prepared.
- Prepare the vegetables (as above)
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Saute the peppers, onion, tomatoes and garlic for about 2 minutes. Stir, then add the drained saltfish. Sprinkle black pepper. Cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add the drained ackee. Stir gently to prevent the ackee from becoming mushy. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle the thyme during the last minute. Serve hot.
And there, as easy as that, you can make Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish and recreate your Jamaican holiday memories.
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