ackee no saltfish


ackee is jamaica's national fruit and ackee and saltfish its national dish, so it was very important for me veganise this! i've never been a big fan of meat even pre veganism, so this was usually what i ordered at the shop or requested from family.

ackee is native to west africa and its migration to the caribbean is one example of the culinary connections between africa and her diaspora. i have always used food to connect me to my culture and whenever i eat it i always think of the many stories and histories that brought it to my plate in west london.

it is a creamy, savoury fruit that unfortunately only comes canned in the uk, as if prepared incorrectly it is poisonous! the "ackee tax" (the cost of a can shooting up (almost doubling in the past 5 years...) due to gentrification) has sadly made this a luxury for me but it hits perfectly every time.

i use salted and marinated jackfruit as my fish replacement but you could also try okra, samphire, or banana blossom.

this is a great breakfast or brunch dish but is also perfect any time of the day! i serve here with boiled yam and fried plantain, but fried or steamed dumplings also go great.

serves 4

ingredients:

1 large can ackee (can be purchased from any afro caribbean supermarket (try sunland caribbean foods or jennie's tropical, both black owned) or some supermarkets in the "world foods" section)

1 can jackfruit (can be purchased from any asian supermarket, whole foods/holland and barratt and some supermarkets)

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 tomato

1 spring onion, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 scotch bonnet, sliced, seeds removed

a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme

4 tbsp dulse flakes (can be purchased at any whole foods or asian supermarket)

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup water

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika

oil for frying (i use grapeseed oil)

method:

1. drain and rinse the jackfruit. remove any hard and tough parts (usually the inner triangle)

2. breaking up the jackfruit with a fork, mix the salt, dulse flakes, water and jackfruit and leave to marinate in the fridge. this is best done an hour before cooking but can also be done just before.

3. thinly slice the peppers and onion.

4. sauté the veg on a medium heat until fragrant and the onion is golden.

5. roughly chop the tomato and add this, the garlic and the scotch bonnet to the pan. if it sticks add a few tbsps of water.

6. drain the jackfruit well and add to the pan along with the spring onion and remaining spices. fry on a low heat until the jackfruit loses moisture (5-10 mins).

7. drain and rinse the ackee. be careful with this step as we want the ackee to remain as whole as possible. bun soggy and mushy ackee!

8. add the ackee to the pot and stir gently to mix everything together.

9. serve once the ackee is piping hot.


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- audre lorde

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