Jamaican Ackee recipe| Afro-Caribbean Cuisine
Covid-19 moves about halting parties, events and dining experience around the world. But, now is also a good time to sit back, breathe, meditate, and make good meals out of all those food we racked up nervously from the supermarket shelves. Try Jamaican Ackee, an Afro-Caribbean dish.
Ackee is a Jamaican national delicacy with West African roots. History has it that Ackee recipe was brought from Africa to the Caribbean in the 18th century by slave ships. As time went by, the dish gained popularity. It has now become a national dish in Jamaica.
Looking at the meal, you will be forgiven if you think it’s scrambled eggs.
Usually, the dish is served with salted cod, which has been soaked overnight. Though the delicacy is normally served on weekends in the morning, you can take your Ackee any time of the day.
The dish is loaded with essential nutrients and minerals to keep your loved ones well nourished. Its preparation is simple, so it can pass as one best option when you are exploring a homemade fast food or something you can whip together without sacrificing nutrients and satisfaction.
But before we get down to cooking, get to know Jamaican culture.
Jamaican culture is very diverse mainly as a result of African and European interactions. For years now, the country has managed to sustain its cultural heritage and all that is unique about it.
Many Jamaicans feel a deep connect with Africa as the Motherland. They see Africa not just as a geographical place where their ancestors came from, but also as a spiritual center of origin.
The cuisine experienced in Jamaica is a blend of African and European flavors.
Caribbean delicacies like Ackee, curried goat, dumplings make the Jamaican national dishes. Flying fish, Cou Cou, and salt fish are some of the popular sources of proteins in most recipes.
Just as in many parts of Africa, Jamaicans have some cultural beliefs that some other societies might find puzzling. For instance, when a child is born, the umbilical cord is buried under a tree. The move is said to strengthen the connection with the family.
[bctt tweet=”In Jamaica, when a child is born the umbilical cord is buried under a tree inorder to strengthen the connection between the newborn and the family”]
Another notable belief is when one dies. Death is viewed as a natural transformation. But if the deceased is old, it is considered to be caused by envy, evil spirits, or violation of cultural norms.
Friends and family spend eight days in the deceased house to celebrate their life. Traditional drinks, foods, and dancing are part of the ceremony. On the 9th day, farewell songs fill the air.
The furnitures are also re-arranged for the house to look different. The move is said to prevent the evil spirits from coming back to haunt the family.
In Jamaica, family and friends serve food to their dead. This should sound familiar: Former Zimbabwe president, late President Robert Mugabe, was “fed” with food for days after his passing. The Jamaicans place the dead under a silk cotton tree which is believed to be the residence of the spirits. Doing so keeps the family safe and prevents any spirits from haunting them.
Now off cultural matters, let’s get to our Ackee recipe:
1 Ackee can (drained)
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 medium tomato
4 slices of hot scotch bonnet pepper
1 sweet pepper
1 onion (medium)
1 tsp black pepper
- Soak the saltfish overnight or boil for about 7 minutes with water to remove excess salt
- Rinse your saltfish thoroughly and remove all the bones
- Saute your onions, and garlic
- Add salt, tomatoes, black pepper, and bonnet pepper. Stir for two minutes
- Put your Ackee, sweet pepper, and keep stirring gently for a minute
- Simmer for five minutes under low heat. Serve with rice or plantains
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