- Food and Cooking
How To Prepare One Of Jamaica's National Dish Of Ackee And Saltfish With Roast Breadfruit
The Origin of This Yellow Fruit called Ackee
The Ackee Fruit
The ackee is a tropical fruit which belongs to the Sapindaceae family. It has its origin in West Africa but has traversed the Atlantic Ocean making the Caribbean its home. The exact date of arrival is not known but it is believed that the fruit was taken to the Caribbean by slave ships sometime around the 18th century. The trivial name ackee, is derived from the terms “anke” and “akye-fufuo” which are used to describe the fruit in West Africa. The fruit was named Blighia sapida in honor of the infamous Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty who transported the fruit from Jamaica to England in 1793.
Ackee is consumed mainly in Jamaica, Haiti and some parts of West Africa. In Jamaica, the fruit serves as a major component of the national dish ackee and saltfish or [codfish]. There, the fruit is also processed in brine, canned and exported earning over US $13 million annually. The fruit is divided into three major sections, the pod, the seed and the edible portion, the arilli. See photograph across page of an ackee pod.
THE BREADFRUIT PLANT
THE ORIGIN OF BREADFRUIT
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, Moraceae, that is native to the Malay Peninsula and western Pacific islands. It has also been widely planted in tropical regions elsewhere.
Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 20 meters (66 ft). The large and thick leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice, which is useful for boat caulking.
Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year. In southern India, normal production is 150 to 200 fruits annually. Productivity varies between wet and dry areas. In the Caribbean, a conservative estimate is 25 fruits per tree. Studies in Barbados indicate a reasonable potential of 6.7 to 13.4 tons per acre (16-32 tons/ha). The grapefruit-sized ovoid fruit has a rough surface, and each fruit is divided into many achenes, each achene surrounded by a fleshy perianth and growing on a fleshy receptacle. Some selectively-bred cultivars have seedless fruit.
The breadfruit is closely related to the breadnut and the jackfruit
Bits and pieces of this information on the origin of Breadfruit was taken from the Wikipedia (free encyclopedia).
HOW TO (DIY) YOUR BREADFRUIT
NOW TO THE RECIPE OF ACKEE AND SALTFISH WITH ROAST BREADFRUIT
PREPARATION OF BREADFRUIT
You have the option of either roasting the Breadfruit yourself on a gas stove a coal fire, A wood fire OR, to make life easier, just purchase your roast Breadfruit at some West Indian Shops. This depends on which parts of the world you are. In the Caribbean, you can roast the Breadfruit yourself or you can ask a friend to do it for you. In the UK, you can buy roast Breadfruit at some West Indian shops. After you have your roasted Breadfruit either by purchasing it or roasting yourself;
- Get a sharp Knife and peel the burnt skin from your roasted Breadfruit.
- Place peeled Breadfruit in a flat plate and cut Breadfruit in two equal halves.
- Depending on your serving, you can use one half of your Breadfruit and refridgerate the rest for future use. ( to be consume in 2 days)
- Peg Breadfruit in small portions as shown in photograph and place pegs in a container.
- Cover container with a its lid and put away for now.
PREPARATION OF ACKEE FRUIT AND SALTFISH OR [CODFISH]
Again, if you are in the Caribbean, you can purchase your Ackee from food markets and even supermarkets. In this case, you would have to prepare Ackee yourself for cooking. If you look at the photograph, you will see what the fruit is like, for your preparation.
HOW TO GET YOUR ACKEE READY FOR COOKING
- After purchasing Ackee from the market, pour ackee fruits in a container and use both hands to remove pods and seeds from all the fruits. (The pods are sometimes removed prior to you purchasing Ackee)
- After all the pods and seeds are removed, get a knife and use the knife to remove all the red bits inside the Ackee fruit. You can also use your nails if you have long nails,
- After you have removed all the red bits from Ackee, pour Ackee in a pot of boiling water and allowed to cooked for about 8 to 10 minutes. The volume of water is dependent on the quantity of Ackee fruit you are cooking. Please do not overcooked Ackee.
- Allow to cool a bit and then drain water from Ackee fruit.
You can purchase your Ackee that has already been processed in Tin at most West Indian and Asian shops.
This will make life much easier for those who want to have their Ackee and Saltfish ready in minutes.
THIS IS YOUR FINISHED DISH OF ACKEE AND SALTFISH
PREPARING YOUR SALTFISH
- Soak 400g of saltfish in water for about 2hrs prior to cooking, in order to extract excess salt.
- Boil saltfish for approximately 15-20 mins, until tender.
- Drain water off and remove all the skin and bone. You can get saltfish that has already been deboned and skin removed to make life easier for you. This can be obtained at West Indian shops. Set aside for now.
- Place diced tomatoes, sweet pepper, onion and garlic in a frying pan with some vegetable oil or olive oil. Allow vegetables to fry for approxImately 2 mins.
- Pour Saltfish in frying pan and allow to simmer, stir repeatedly.
- You can enhance the flavor by adding some powdered black pepper, a little All Purpose seasoning and tenderiser (optional).
- Cover frying pan and allow to simmer for about 7mins on low flame.
- Remove from flame and allow to cool a bit.
- Serve your Ackee and Saltfish along with your roast(fry Breadfruit optional) Breadfruit with a glass of hot or cold drink of your choice.
That's my way of preparing Ackee and saltfish with roast Breadfruit.
You will surely enjoy this dish.