Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish
1/2 lb Saltfish (dried, salted
12 fresh ackees or 1 (drained) can of tinned ackees
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp of butter
4 Scallion (or spring onions)
1/2 a hot chilli pepper (ideally Scotch Bonnet)
1 sweet pepper (bell pepper)
1 chopped tomato
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
Start by putting the dry salted fish to boil in a pot on high heat, then simmer for about 20 minutes (you can also soak in cold water overnight before boiling if you wish). I try my best to get the gaspi saltfish, which is one of the finest types, but boneless/skinless saltfish is also good as it makes for less work.
After boiling drain, rinse under cool water and squeeze dry. Now break apart into the size pieces you like. Some people use a fork to sort of shred the saltfish, so its up to you as to the size you desire. The larger the size, the more you are able to taste the saltfish when eating. While the saltfish was boiling to remove the excess salt that is was cured in (also re-hydrates and tenderizes the fish), I prepared the ingredients that we’ll be using in this dish.
In a large sauce pan, heat the butter on medium heat (or if you want use olive oil). Next add the sliced onions and scotch bonnet pepper. Allow that to cook for a couple minutes (until the onion softens up a bit), then add the sweet pepper (bell pepper), scallion, black pepper, and thyme. Allow this to cook for a couple minutes and then add the pieces of saltfish and cook for another 3-5 minutes. To prevent the tomato becoming too mushy, I now add it to the sauce pan and let it warm through for about a minute or two. Remember to stir, so all the ingredients get a chance to marry each other.
Now it’s time to add the ackee and one thing to remember about canned ackee is that it’s very fragile. After opening the can, pour everything into a strainer and run cold water over it just to remove the liquid it’s been packed in. After this drains, add it to the saucepan with everything else and gently toss it with the other ingredients. The trick is not to break it apart, or you’ll end up with a huge pot of mush. After adding the ackee, it takes a minute or two for it to heat through and absorb all those other flavors in the pot.
If you truly want to experience this recipe as authentic as possible, have it with boiled green banana, yam, dumplings and hard dough bread and washed it all down with a piping hot cup of Milo or fresh cocoa, sweetened with condensed milk. Bon Appetite.
Jamaican Fried Dumplings
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Rub in the butter until it is in pieces no larger than peas. Mix in water 1 tablespoon at a time just until the mixture is wet enough to form into a ball. The dough should be a firm consistency. Knead briefly.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Break off pieces of the dough and shape into a patty - kind of like a flat biscuit. Place just enough of the dumplings in the pan so they are not crowded. Fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels before serving.