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Jamaica’s National Dish – Ackee & Saltfish

Jamaica’s Traditional Breakfast

Jamaica’s national dish is Ackee and Saltfish.  Jamaicans say its the traditional breakfast dish but I would and do eat it anytime!

Ackee is a fruit that grows on the Ackee tree, and it actually looks like a fruit when its still on the tree.

ackee-on-tree

Picture of ackee tree

Before ackee can be cooked it needs to be picked from the tree and taken out of its pretty red skin. What’s inside doesn’t look like a fruit nor does it look the least bit appetizing. In my opinion it looks like a bunch of beetle-like bugs with big heads. This is a bag of fresh ackee that was picked in our friend’s yard, right before we decapitated the little critters. In other words, we had to remove the large dark seeds from it before being cooked.

raw-ackee1

Picture of fresh ackee

Ackee and saltfish is usually served with dumplings, boiled or fried. I personally like the fried dumplings better with it so I can sop up the grease left on my plate from the saltfish. Saltfish is just what it sounds like….salty white fish. I have yet to find it here where I live so when I make this dish I just buy any white fish and soak it in saltwater overnight. Ironically the Jamaicans soak their saltfish in fresh water to tone down the salty flavor.

When cooking this dish the saltfish is cooked in a pan with oil and random other veggies like onions and green peppers. The ackee is added last because it doesn’t really need to be cooked, just heated. My son thinks the completed dish looks like eggs because of ackee’s yellow color. And the taste isn’t what you’d expect. Ackee has a distinct taste that I can’t really describe so you’ll have to try it for yourself and let me know.

ackee_and_saltfish-cooked

Picture of ackee and saltfish

Fresh ackee is far superior to the canned version I have to buy at home. Its available in some Caribbean food stores where I live and it definitely comes at a premium of roughly TEN dollars a can!!

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22 Comments

  1. Hey,

    You can usually find saltfish called (codfish() in the US at any West Idnain, or most Spanish shops. Even some of the West African specialites stores carry this item. Found in the freezers, and you will need soak it or boil it for 30 mins, rinse it off then soak. Boiling it however may offend your US neighbors or roommates as it’s smelly. lol
    I use to find it in NY. DC. and Florida.

    D

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  2. Sounds like a nice and healthy dish! Enjoyed reading your blog ;)

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  3. Dale first me with the ‘saltfish’ issue. It is actually dried and salted codfish. Wenot only eat it with ackee but on it’s own or with other things like beans, cabbage or pasta. Bon Appetit!

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  4. I love dried saltfish just by itself! Or greasy fried saltfish with some fried dumplin.

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  5. im hungry now

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  6. LOL glad you enjoyed!! I need me some ACKEE!

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  7. You can buy Salt Fish at http://www.westindianshop.com if you are in the US or http://www.easycaribbeanshop.com if you are in the UK. Ackee can be brought as well but you only get canned Ackee in Europe and US.

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  8. i am proud to be a jamaican. I need me some ackee an salt fish!

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  9. I hear you!

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  10. i love my ackee and saltfish, i eat it anytime.

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  11. Saltfish and cabbage…I wish I could marry a food dish. This would definitely be it. BOOP!

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  12. DWL!!!!!!!!!!! Mi could neva!! I would cheat on them all with the other one!!

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  13. I LOVE ACKEE AND SALT FISH

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  14. Cosign!!!

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  15. To avoid the strong odours of the saltfish lingering down the hallways if you live in a building, (I once boiled it for a long time and felt embarrassed leaving my apartment) soak it in boiling water and leave it overnight or f0r a few hours if doing this during the day, pour the water off and soak again in more boiling water and leave it for a few hours, pour the water off then boil it for only 10 to fifteen minutes. That is the only way to avoid the strong smell.

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  16. jamaica to di wurld yuh zimmi!

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  17. maad!

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  18. ackee and salt is the best!

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  19. this is not what i asked for!

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  20. jamaica food look good boy

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  21. me a go jamaica fa tase them food see.and for look some gal to but no trouble.

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  22. truhh bumbo,JAH MAK YAH

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  1. Top 10 Favorite Things About Jamaica « 104.3 WOMC - [...] love the food in Jamaica. I always go for jerk pork or jerk chicken, Ackee and Saltfish (the national …

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