So, the story goes that ackee is a fruit related to the lychee and logan and is used in the Jamaican national dish, ackee and saltfish. It's very hard to get in Australia, apparently because sometimes the poisonous unripe fruit get canned by accident and kill people, or something *shrugs*, so any time anyone goes to the US, Jamaica or the UK my family nags them to bring back a few cans. My completely-unrelated-to-me-aunt had two tins and my parents were in town, so there was a group consensus that we needed a Jamaican feast.
Darren, with his Jamaican genes obtained by osmosis, is very good at cooking Jamaican food. He was in charge of jerk chicken. He collected his dry ingredients (it works better with dried ingredients): 5 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 5 teaspoons thyme, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon mace, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 10 teaspoons pimento and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
The he ground them all up coarsely to form a powdered seasoning.
He poured lime over a couple of kilograms of chicken wingettes (you can use pork or fish also).
And then rubbed the jerk seasoning over the meat and marinated it in the fridge overnight.
The next day he cooked the chicken on the barbecue
Yum num num.
Ackee and Saltfish
My aunt was doing the ackee and saltfish. My mum had soaked the salt fish (salted cod, bacalhau) overnight in water, changing the water two or three times to get rid of the salt. Then it was boiled in water.
My aunt cut up a couple of spring onions, a spring of thyme, an onion, a few cloves of garlic and a couple of tomatoes. Notice that she doesn't believe in chopping boards.
Then she removed bones from the saltfish.
She cooked the vegetables in a little oil until the onion was softened.
Then she added the fish and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, she drained the ackee.
Then she gently folded it into the vegetable/fish mix (be gentle and don't overcook it, otherwise you'll end up with sludge).
The ackee flavour is a little like scrambled eggs. Oh! So good!
|Ackee and Saltfish|
Ackee and saltfish are served with johnnie cakes (fried dumplings). My aunt told me that the dumplings should be festival (cornmeal dumplings), but she's not good at making them. For the johnnie cakes, she mixed a couple of cups of plain flour with a heaped teaspoon of baking powder (using self-raising flour soaks up the oil too much), a small handful of sugar and a sprinkle of salt together.
Then she added water and mixed until combined, but not sticky. She continued mixing, but not kneading (otherwise the dumplings will be hard) until the dough was beginning to be elastic, then let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
She shaped the dumplings and shallow fried them on both sides in vegetable oil on a low heat until golden brown (if you cook them too hot, you'll get burned outsides and raw middles).
Johnnie cakes are a great contrast with the ackee and saltfish. Miss 1.5 loves them.
My mum made a Vietnamese-style salad to go with it all. I wasn't there when she did it but there appeared to be wombok, peanuts, sesame seeds, snow peas, celery, pomelo and Chang's salad dressing.
And then we ate. And danced... !