Delicious and healthy: How to make Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish like a pro

Ackee and Saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish.

It’s tasty, easy to prepare, looks the part, AND it’s delicious.

This is one of my favourite Jamaican meals, and was handed down to me by my Nan on my Dad’s side.  She learnt how to make the dish whilst growing up in Jamaica, and to this day is one of my favourite meals.  The bulk of it is made up of vegetables, Ackee (a fruit you’re only likely to find growing in Jamaica) and Saltfish.

Let’s get going:-

Ingredients – Ackee and Saltfish

  • 300g Skinless and boneless Saltfish
  • 540g Ackee
  • 1x Red pepper
  • 1x Yellow pepper
  • 1x Onion
  • Splash of coconut oil
  • 1x Garlic clove

Ingredients – Dumplings (Johnny cakes)

  • 250g Self raising flour
  • Coconut/vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt


1)  Start by taking the saltfish and putting it into a saucepan with some cold water, making sure all of the fish is covered.


2)  Turn up the heat, and you can get to work on the vegetables.  You’ll inevitably get salty water everywhere.


3)  Chop up the peppers, along with the onion.

4)  When the water has boiled, drain out the hot water and re-fill the saucepan with cold.  Repeat this process 3 times.  With each time, more salt is being removed from the fish.


5)  Pop the diced onion and peppers into a large frying pan with a little coconut oil (vegetable oil will work fine) and start frying them off.

6)  Have a glass of wine & think about how cultured and healthy you’re going to be after all of this is finished.


7)  After a few minutes, peel a clove of garlic, press & add to the frying pan.


8)  Place your flour into a bowl, and add the salt & a tiny splash of water.  Mix in with your fingers, and keep adding water (only a tiny bit at a time) until you reach a point where you can roll the flour into tiny balls without cracks appearing.  The consistency will be similar to play-dough.


9)  This part is ridiculously satisfying.  Once finished, flatten them all out and check for cracks.  You don’t want any cracks at all.

10)  Drain the Saltfish, and flake it all apart with two forks on a plate.


11)  Add the flaked Saltfish to the vegetables in the large frying pan, and gently mix in.


12)  Fill another, smaller saucepan about 1cm deep with coconut oil (again, vegetable oil will work as a substitute) and heat the oil until it bubbles when you touch it with one of your flour-balls.  Once the oil reaches this temperature, put them all in.

13)  It’ll only take one or two minutes on each side to lightly brown them, and then they’re done.

14)  Remove them from the oil and place onto some kitchen paper to get rid of some of the oil, and allow them to cool down a little.


15)  Add the Ackee to the vegetable/Saltfish pan, and GENTLY fold into the mix.  The Ackee is really delicate and will disintegrate into nothingness if you stir it – so don’t.

You’re all done!




Dish up, and enjoy.  Don’t forget to let me know if you try this recipe!


About the author: James



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