While in Jamaica last month I finally learned how to make Ackee. I was first introduced to Ackee when I met my college sweetheart who happen to be Jamaican. Ackee is fruit made popular in the Western Hemisphere by Jamaicans but is native to West Africa. It is thought the fruit was imported to the Western Hemisphere by way of slave ships. Ackee is related to lychee and longan and can be found in Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and even Florida. It is the national fruit in Jamaica and is usually prepared with codfish.
During my stay I saw Ackee in great abundance and was relatively inexpensive compared to the prices I have seen stateside. The recipe is relatively simple. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to make. Thanks to my sous chef Annette for this recipe.
6 cups of ackee
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 scotch bonnet
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Clean ackee remove black seed and pick out red part in the flesh. In pot bring 2 cups of water to boil add ½ teaspoon of salt. Once water is boiling add ackee. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft on medium heat and covered. Once tender strain. In another pot heat oil, add the remaining ingredients and saute until soft a fragrant. Approximately 5-7 minutes. Add ackee and mix. Cook for additional 1-3 minutes. Add black to taste.
Ackee is traditionally served with boiled green banana, yams, and dumpling. In Jamaica it is eaten for breakfast. It has a texture similar to scrambled eggs.
Is it true or old wives tale that ackee has a part that is “poisonous”? Not deadly, but can cause gastric issues? I’ve heard this before, but haven’t verified it. I want to prepare it, especially as a replacement to scrambled eggs, since I no longer eat eggs for breakfast.