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Jamaican Food - Ackee and Saltfish

Updated on July 20, 2012

Although this is probably not as unknown as some of the recipes I have posted, none the less I had turned 50 by the time I tried this. I now have many years of catching up to do having discovered this, it is now one of my all time favourites if not THE all time favourite.

Ackee and Saltfish is the Jamaican national dish and is also widely eaten by Jamaicans living in the US and the UK. Whilst Jamaicans at home may use the fresh ackee, this can be very dangerous if it isn't prepared properly so it is best to use the canned variety unless you a) have access to fresh ackee and b) you know what you are doing.

It's not the prettiest dish in the world but believe me, it is delicious.


1 tin of drained ackees
1 lb of Salt Fish (or see 'cheat' below)
1 Onion plus a few Scallions (spring onions)
1 large tomato
1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 good spoon to taste of dried thyme
black pepper
1 scotch bonnet pepper (I have used a fresh chillie before if you can't get Scotch Bonnet but it's worth it if you can)


Soak the fish for 12 hours, changing the water several times and then boil for 20 minutes and then flake.
(CHEAT: Though not authentic, I have used Cod and also tinned mackerel in oil (drained) ... it's probably a bit different but is delicious still and a good way to try this if you really don't want the hassle of soaking the fish etc .. makes it into a very quick meal)


1) Heat some oil in a pan

2) Add the chopped onion and scallion and cook for a while then add the chopped tomato(s)

3) Add the finely chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper (be warned, this is very hot. leave out the seeds if you don't like too much heat and wash your hands well before touching your eyes etc .. this isn't supposed to be a fiery dish but should have a kick to it)

4) Add the thyme and leave to saute for a few minutes

5) Stir in the salt fish (or the 'cheat' alternative) and cook for a few more minutes .. you might want to add a little salt if you didn't use salted cod, depending on taste.

6) Stir in the ackee and cook for another 2 minutes

7) Add black pepper and then serve with rice and peas or boiled rice or another staple if you prefer.

And that's it ... without the soaking, this all takes about 15 minutes .. ideal for a quick and nutritious meal


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