My Ackee Fetish

055Feeling adventurous today? 

Are you ready to try something new and exotic?  Here is another Jamaican love of mine … Ackee.

As they say here, “Ackee is to Jamaica as batty (buttocks) is to bench.”  Adopted from the Ivory and Gold Coast of West Africa in the late 18th century, thanks to Captain Bligh, the ackee tree has become a familiar sight along local roadsides and can be found in almost every Jamaican’s back-ah-yahd.

As a matter of fact, I took this photo from the roadside not too far from where I currently live.  They were high up in the tree though – thank goodness for power zoom lens!  A little birdie told me there were lots of opened ackee pods on the lower branches but it seems like the locals had beat me to it.

It is important to know that only the yellow pulp of the ackee is edible.  You will need to wait for the pods to turn red and naturally split open before picking.  Never force them open as the immature fruit is poisonous.

Although technically a fruit, the ackee is treated like a vegetable. The pulp is usually parboiled in salted water and then lightly sautéed in coconut oil at which time it is oh so scrumptious!  No wonder it’s a popular traditional breakfast item in Jamaica.

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Ackee is rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C, and resembles scrambled eggs when cooked.  Fresh ackees are not available away from Jamaica but you can get the canned ones from West Indian stores or the Caribbean aisle of your supermarket, which is just as good and tasty.

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I had my share of servings this morning and believe me, I was not disappointed!  Did you know that ackee is also the main ingredient of Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish?  Here is the recipe …

Ackee and Saltfish

Serves 2
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Egg Free, Gluten Free
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable
Region Jamaican

Ingredients

  • 24 ackee (or 2 cans)
  • 1/2lb salted cod fish (soaked and flaked)
  • 2 Medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 sweet pepper (sliced)
  • 1 tomato (skinned, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ¼ tsp. dried thyme)
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper with stem (or ½ tsp seeded and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions

1. Soak fish for two hours or overnight covered in water. Drain and discard water.
2. Clean ackee, cover with cold water and bring to a boil (not canned ones).
3. Boil salt fish in fresh water changing twice. Drain. Remove bones and skin. Flake with fork and set aside.
4. To a pan add coconut oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, scallion, thyme.
5. Sauté until the onion is transparent.
6. Add saltfish and Scotch Bonnet pepper (optional)
7. Add ackees, toss lightly as they break up easily, and cover.
8. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove from flame.
9. Sprinkle with black pepper.
10. Enjoy with boiled green bananas, yam, sweet potatoes, or baked breadfruit
11. Another option is rolling in a wrap with veggies and lettuce. :)

 

My breakfast this morning! :)

Today is the day to try something new!  Why not head out to your local West Indian store and pick up a couple cans.  Life is sweet and so is ackee!

Enjoy!

Martine ~ holistic nutritionista

Martine

CNP, Holistic Health Coach ~ I specialize in supporting my clients stress less, improve digestive wellness, eat clean, and break the barrier of the food and mood connection.

4 Comments:

  1. Christine Murhy

    Oh Martine, I remember Paulette making this for Vickey and I. It was delicious, and yes, I DID think it was scrambled eggs. Boy was I fooled … haha. I look forward to the day I can be fooled again! School is very demanding right now. I hope to get back to MoBay soon … I ache for ackee :) BTW, I went to the beach with my friend last weekend, and I advertised Jamaica, with my Jamaican bathing suit! My Love to all.

  2. Get your batty down here and we can have another ackee feast! The island is just not the same without you!

  3. Whey de bammy deh?

  4. Pingback: How To: Jamaican Fried Dumplings | THEKAYCILLA

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