Recipe #8: Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Plantain and Dumplings

17 Feb

Ackee and Saltfish! Jamaica’s National Dish, made with Jamaica’s National Fruit, Ackee! I grew up eating Ackee and salt fish on Sunday mornings for years.  Then, for a while ackee disappeared from stores in the U.S. An ugly rumor that Ackee was poisonous spread and Ackee was banned in the United States.  Ackee is only unsafe if the pods are not opened before they are picked.  Luckily, the U.S lifted their ackee ban years ago, and we can eat ackee again!

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 2 dozen ackees in pods
  • 1/2 lb salt cod
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 3-4 slices hot pepper
  • 1 small tomato
  • black pepper

Choose ackees that are completely open, with the black seed and yellow fruit clearly visible in the pod.

Remove the ackees from the pods.  Discard the seeds and the pink membrane found in the cleft of each fruit.  wash them an put them to boil in a lard pot of water with the salt fish.  As soon as the ackees are tender, pour the contents of the pot into a large sieve, discarding the ware.  Separate the ackees from the fish.  Run some clod water over the fish so that you can remove the bones and skin, then flake it and set it aside.

Put the butter and oil to heat in a frying pan. Add the onions thyme and hot pepper slices, and tomato.  Stir for a few minutes then add the flaked fish.  Stir for a few more minutes then add the drained ackees, carefully stirring so as not the crush them.  Add a little more oil if necessary, sprinkle with plenty of freshly ground pepper, and the dish is ready.

O.K. Here is what I did.

Now, I had no intention of looking for actual ackee, and I don’t even think you can find the fruit in the states.  Luckily, you can get ackee in a can! If you go to almost any grocery now, ackee in a can is available.


I drained the ackee from the water, and set it aside.


Then, I followed the rest of the instructions.  I fried the onions, added the thyme, and used red pepper flakes ( I have to buy more hot pepper).  Image

I let that delicious smelling mixture fry for a while and then I added the salt fish that I had flaked from the previous cod fish recipe. (If you didn’t check out the last recipe.  Just take some cod fish fillets, boil them twice and then flake the fish.)  I let that fry again for a few mins, stirred the pot and then added my ackees. My mother and father do not like crushed ackee, so I made sure that I stirred very carefully. Also, I added quite a bit of black pepper at then end.  I covered the pot and let it simmer.

With the ackee, I fried up some sweet plantain. This is a great addition to the ackee.  I simply peeled the plantain and fried in hot oil.


I also rolled out some dumplings. Which just consists of flour, salt, cornmeal and baking powder.  Then just add water.


I separated the dough into flat circles and fried them until golden brown on each side. Then Sunday Brunch is served!

Ackee and saltfish with fried plantain and dumplings.  Delicious, and traditional!! Image


Some people say ackee is an acquired taste, I just think it is delicious. It was also featured on food networks Diners, Drive Ins and Dives once.  If you want a true taste of Jamaica, THIS is the dish to make!! Keep it spicy!


2 Responses to “Recipe #8: Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Plantain and Dumplings”

  1. eggthoughts February 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Ok, I really appreciate this post and all your pictures and descriptions! This is a dish I’ve always been too scared to try, even though I know ackee and salt fish is a staple in Jamaica. And I’ve been nervous to buy ackee in a can, thinking “what if is one of those things that doesn’t taste as good from a can?”, but since you did it I’ll give it a try!

    • truthvsfeelings February 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      The only place I have ever eaten fresh ackee is in Jamaica, here in the states we have to settle for the can. But fortunately canned ackee works really well, just drain the liquid! Enjoy!

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