Ackee and Saltfish-1-4
I prepared brunch on Sunday for my husband and his family.   Because they are from Jamaica I decided to surprise them with a traditional Jamaican breakfast.   I’m very familiar with Jamaican cuisine so the menu was a breeze.   It had to include their national dish, ackee and saltfish.  I love it, my husband loves it, so it was an absolute must.  Salted cod fillets are soaked to remove salt, then flaked into tiny pieces and sauteed with various spices, herds and aromatics.  The ackee is added at the last 5 mins to prevent it from overcooking and  becoming mushy.  A simple yet divine dish, it’s easy to see why it is so revered that it became their national dish.
Even though we have ackee trees in Guyana we do not use it in our cooking, it’s regarded as an inedible fruit.Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee was brought to the Island of Jamaica from West Africa and can be found though out the island.  This fruit is only edible when it’s ripe, it turns red and splits open revealing the flesh.  Before this stage it is considered poisonous and can lead to severe vomiting.   Don’t worry, you can pick up a can of ripe ackee at your local West Indian market.Ackee and Saltfish-1-5

I planned the rest of the meal around the ackee and saltfish, so it had to include something starchy to accompany it.  I settled on fried dumplings, roasted and then fried breadfruit(fresh from Jamaica) and a fresh tropical fruit salad.I served a selection of hot and cold beverages; pineapple juice, hot chocolate and a variety of teas.  Needless to say it was all quickly devoured.  Much to their surprise and my delight, each dish was authentic and very well  received, they loved it! Yeah Mon, enjoy!!

Ackee and Salt fish

1 lb Boneless, skinless Bacalao fillets (salted codfish)

1 large tomato chopped

1 medium onion chopped

1 bell pepper, sliced

1 cherry pepper chopped

1 tsp black pepper

6 sprigs of thyme(optional)

3 scallion chopped

4 tsp vegetable oil

1 20 oz. can of Ackee

Rinse the bacalao fillets in warm water.  Boil the fillets in water for 10 minutes.  Pour off the water, fill the pot with fresh water and boil for another ten minutes.  This is important step to get rid of some of the salt in the bacalao.  Or you can simply soak the codfish overnight in a bowl of water.

Drain and rinse ackee and set aside.

Drain the water from the fish and flake with a fork.  Heat oil in pan, then add onions, pepper.  Saute for about 2-3 minutes on a medium fire, until the onions are soft.  Add tomatoes and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to break down.  Add flaked bacalao cook for an additional 1o mins.  Add  ackee and stir, breaking into smaller pieces.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until ackee is warmed and tender, remove from heat.   Sprinkle with scallion.  Serve warm.


Fried Dumpling*

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup self rising flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 half cup milk

Combine flours, and sugar in a bowl.  Add margarine and rub into flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal (you can use a fork or food processor or mixer also).  There shouldn’t be any big lumps of margarine.  Add milk to form a soft dough.  If you prefer a more dense dumpling, add less milk.

Divide dough into 12 even pieces, and form into flattened circles, about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Set aside and allow to sit for 15 mins.

In a sautee pan, add canola oil to about  1/2 inch deepness.  On a medium fire, heat oil.  Add dumplings, about 5 at a time ( adding too many at once will lower the temperature of the oil).  Cook for approximately 4 minutes per side.  Dumplings should be golden brown.  Remove from oil and set on a plate covered with paper towel.   Repeat until all the dumplings have been fried.  Serve warm.

*My dumplings are a bit lighter than the traditional Jamaican dumplings.



  1. October 20, 2010 / 1:10 pm

    I’ve had some festival that also have a touch (or more) of sugar, which is interesting. I love this dish and am glad that Jamaicans patriotic enough that it can be found on hotel breakfast buffets in Jamaica 😀

  2. October 20, 2010 / 1:11 pm

    This looks delish!!! I have never had ackee but this has inspired me to try it. Looks great and like I can smell it thru the pic 🙂

  3. Mali
    October 20, 2010 / 2:48 pm


  4. October 20, 2010 / 5:24 pm

    Looks delicious! I’ll have to try ackee and salt fish. Don’t think i’ve ever had it before. I’m a big fan of the fried dumplings though!

  5. October 20, 2010 / 7:19 pm

    Ooh yummy! Everything is making my mouth water. Must try this out.

  6. October 22, 2010 / 9:37 am

    Oh wow. I wish I could have had brunch at your place.


  7. October 22, 2010 / 3:43 pm

    I have to admit, I have never tried much Jamaican food (my husband refuses to eat seafood). But, this looks amazing! I might have to just slip it in to ou dinner plans some night!

  8. October 24, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    This looks mouth watering. We have salted fish here too but of a different kind. Perhaps I cld make this dish with that. Ill definitely keep this recipe in mind . tq for ur visit to my blog 🙂

  9. October 25, 2010 / 3:17 pm

    Shame on me for never having tried ackee. I always mean to but the price is something else! Those fry bakes look killer. Yum

  10. November 2, 2010 / 12:11 pm

    I’m gonna give your dumplings a try.

  11. November 6, 2010 / 7:07 am

    oh this looks so good.. can you please have me over to your place.. your cooking is so awesome.

  12. Shirmel
    March 22, 2011 / 2:56 pm

    I will use this recipe for Easter, but will use freshly grated coconut instead of sugar. Your website is too dangerous, meaning that I could kill for this food, my mouth cannot stop watering.

  13. mary heaney
    February 1, 2012 / 4:01 pm

    Oh, how I long for fresh ackee. Many years ago I lived in the hills of
    Westmoreland and oh my what a wonderful adventure. Ital soup,
    curry goat, kulaloo but my favorite salt fish and ackee. The older
    ladies taught me many a recipe and how to manage life in the hills.
    One day I will return to the island in the sun. I truly miss it.

  14. christine
    July 22, 2012 / 2:43 pm

    I jihan I tried your bake and it was lovely I always affraid to make bakes but this was so awesome I am about to try the jamaican fried dumplin I don’t know if I can find the ackee in guyanan but thank you so much keep up the good work I will love for you to get fried rice guyanese. Style and chowmein guyanese style please continue to have more recipes guyanese style

  15. JehanP
    July 24, 2012 / 10:25 am

    Hi Christine, thank you for visiting and for the kind words. I do have a recipe for Guyanese Style Chowmein on the blog. Please check the Recipe page for all recipes.

  16. Susan
    October 16, 2012 / 6:39 pm

    Hi Jehan: If I only have all-purpose flour, how much would I use instead of the combo of all-purpose and self-rising flour?

    Then would I have to use baking powder or baking soda with the all-purpose flour in order to make the fried dumplings rise?

    If so, how much?



  17. JehanP
    October 17, 2012 / 5:59 pm

    Susan this is just a rough estimate but I would use about 1/2 tsp baking powder. Susan replace the self rising flour with the same amount of all purpose flour.

  18. Susan
    October 18, 2012 / 2:42 pm

    Thanks, Jehan…I will let you know how that works. Susan