Food Feature: Preparing ackee and saltfish


January 25, 2016
Ackee and saltfish with boiled bananas, roast breadfruit, boiled-fry dumplings and fried plantains
Ackee and saltfish with fry dumplings

Since the start of the year THE STAR has published traditional Jamaican dishes like Blue Draws and Mackerel Rundown. We will get even more traditional this week with the Jamaican national dish, Ackee and Saltfish.

Not only is it a traditional dish, it is a favourite for many Jamaican and it is often served with boiled or fried dumplings, boiled yam, green bananas, roast breadfruit or bammy. Although it is mostly served for breakfast, some persons enjoy it during lunch or dinner time.

Below is an Ackee and Saltfish recipe from


2 dozen ackees, or 2 20oz cans ackee

1 tsp salt

1/2 lb saltfish (salted cod)

1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 sweet pepper (bell pepper) chopped

1 large onion, chopped or in rings

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 hot pepper, diced (optional)

1/4 tsp ground pimento (allspice) or a few whole pimento grains

black pepper


Remove ackees from pods. Clean, wash and drain. Place ackees in boiling water (enough water to cover ackees) with salt, and boil for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. If using canned ackees, there is no need to boil them, simply drain off the liquid.

Wash saltfish thoroughly. Place in a pot with enough cold water to cover saltfish. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes. Throw off the water. When cool enough, separate the saltfish into small pieces, discarding skin and bones. If fish tastes too salty, wash it again.

Heat the oil over medium heat and add tomatoes, sweet pepper, onion, hot pepper, garlic and pimento. Add saltfish and ackee, and stir lightly. Heat thoroughly, especially if using canned or frozen ackees. Add black pepper to taste.

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