Ackee and Saltfish Recipe for cousin Debbie

ackee saltfish

Ackee and Saltfish served with boiled green bananas and fried dumplings

2 cans of Grace Ackee

1 lb of boneless salted codfish – not sure of the brand but it is wild caught

1 scotch bonnet or if not available 1 habanero pepper*

olive oil

1 sprig of fresh thyme

black pepper

1 large tomato chopped

1 onion chopped

3 or 4 scallions chopped

canola oil to fry dumplings


Disclaimer 1:

 I am not Jamaican. Therefore it may not be “authentic”, but this is how I make and serve Ackee and Saltfish for my JAmerican husband and my children.

Disclaimer 2:

I believe this will serve at least 6 people, but I don’t know because my husband and son do not stop eating until it is gone.


Lets get started….

First I soak the boneless salted codfish overnight. Needless to say, this is usually a weekend dish and not a very often weekend dish.

After soaking the codfish,  I boil the fish at least 30 minutes or until it becomes flaky. I don’t like it when it is too chewy, but I do like some of the salt to remain with the fish.

While the fish is boiling, I wash the green bananas with baking soda and scrub. Then I cut the tops and bottoms off the bananas and cut a small incision down the length.

I boil the bananas for 20 mins. Green bananas do not taste like yellow bananas, but have more of a starchy, potatoey (not really a word) taste.

While the bananas and the fish are cooking I make the dough for the dumplings.

2 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup warm milk

After combining ingredients, knead and let rest for 15 mins

Green bananas should be done, remove from heat and drain.

Back to the ackee and saltfish…..

Place the ackee in a colander and if you see any black or brown specs remove them.

Drain the fish by pouring the fish water over the ackee into the colander. Flake the pieces of fish and try not to handle the ackee too much to avoid it becoming mushy.

In a large enough pan with lid, heat at least 1/2 cup of olive oil, more if needed.

Add the onions and sauté until wilted. Add the fish and ackee and pepper to taste, the sprig of thyme, tomatoes and a small slice of the scotch bonnet or habanero pepper* stir just to combine. Reduce heat and cover.

Back to the dumplings…

Heat canola oil to fry the dumplings. Form a log with the dough and cut in pieces. Drop in hot oil and watch them expand. Cook until brown on all sides. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.

You should be able to handle the bananas. Peel them.

Serve your ackee and saltfish with the bananas and the dumplings.

*The last time I used the habanero pepper I rubbed my eye after handling it  and thought my eye would burn out of its socket. Cucumber was the only thing that removed the burning. Please be careful when handling the peppers.


Let me know how your ackee and saltfish turns out.




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