I first tried this Ackee & Saltfish dish at a Jamaican restaurant in Nottingham, and loved it so much I decided to make it at home, and am now sharing it with you.
If you don’t know already, ackee is a fruit that grows in several Caribbean countries, and is exported to the UK from Jamaica in cans. It is available, along with the saltfish (salted cod) from Jamaican food shops and specialist Caribbean supermarkets. You might even find them in larger supermarkets, but it’s great to support independent retailers isn’t it?
In Nottingham you can get the ingredients from Colin Mitchell Supermarket on Alfreton Road, and from the Caribbean store at the rear left of the Victoria Centre Market.
Ackee is rich in potassium so it can help with blood pressure, and one of the highest fruit sources of protein which we all need for growth and repair of our physical body.
Funnily enough, the edible part of it closely resembles scrambled egg – and many westerners often mistake ackee for scrambled eggs at first sight! The black part is the hard seed, and the outer part that looks like a pear is not eaten – only the inner “aril” is edible, and only when the fruit naturally opens up is it ready to eat.
Never open an ackee fruit yourself, as if unripe it is very poisonous. Eating an unripe ackee can result in vomiting, convulsions, even death. Exposure to the sun during ripening neutralises the hypoglycin and makes it safe to eat. Ackee teaches us a lesson in patience, and believe me it’s worth the wait.
Ackee is high in fibre, so it is also great for getting rid of constipation. The meld of ackee and saltfish makes a dish so delicious that I’m sure if it isn’t already, it will become one of your favourites.
One can of ackee
One pack of saltfish/salted cod, soaked for several hours (change water several times)
1/4 red pepper
5 salad tomatoes
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 red onion
1 heaped teaspoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
- In a dutch pot or frying pan, fry the diced onion, crushed & chopped garlic, diced red pepper, and diced tomatoes on a low to medium heat.
- Prepare the saltfish by boiling it for 20 minutes, then drain the water off, and allow to cool. Once cooled sufficiently, carefully check for any bones, removing them, and adding the fish to the frying pan.
- Carefully fold in the saltfish to the mixture, and ensure that it is fully coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the fish is fully coated in the mixture, drain the ackee, and add the can contents to the pan.
- Carefully fold in the ackee, being sure not to break it up. It is very fragile, and you don’t want it to disintegrate!
- Serving suggestion: Makes an excellent starter, or a main course. Fan out an avocado, and place the mixture on top. Serve with a nice fresh salad, this one has mixed leaves, spring onion, carrot, radish, and lots of other good stuff!
Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments below. If you share your pictures on social media please put a link to this recipe page so that your friends can find out how to make it.
Thanks to Carribe restaurant in Nottingham for the idea. Check them out if you are in Nottingham and fancy a classy Caribbean meal in an upmarket setting.