A Caribbean Staple
Words by Natasha Were.
A curious and contradictory Caribbean staple, ackee is a fruit that is cooked as if it were a vegetable, finds its perfect partner in fish, and that is highly toxic before it becomes wholesome and health-giving. Although not native to the region – it is thought to have arrived on a ship travelling to Jamaica from West Africa in the 18th century - the pear-shaped fruit with its soft texture and mild flavour quickly became one half of the country’s national dish, ackee and saltfish.
Dangerously delicious, ackee is only edible fully ripened, when the outer pod turns from green to red and splits open, to reveal glossy black seeds partially covered by creamy flesh. Pick it before it has reached this stage and you could well succumb to the infamous Jamaican vomiting syndrome.
It’s worth the wait, however, as ackee becomes not only tasty, but highly nutritious: the high fibre content aids digestion, vitamin C levels boost immunity, it’s rich in potassium which helps reduce blood pressure and full of complex carbs that regulate blood sugar levels and protect against type II diabetes. With its spongy texture and buttery flavour, ackee can be added to soups, salads and fritters, and is gaining a rapid following among plant-based eaters as it makes an ideal vegan substitute for scrambled eggs.
ACKEE & CRAB SPRING ROLLS
300g Alaskan king crabs
540g ackee (1 dozen)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup spring onion
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 cup mixed peppers
1 chopped scotch bonnet pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
Spring roll wrappers
Clean and cook ackee until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Prepare crab meat, clean and shred.
Pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat.
Fry onions, garlic, spring onions and scotch bonnet for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add prepared crab meat into frying pan and cook for 10 minutes.
Add paprika, black pepper, thyme, all-purpose seasoning and cook together.
Add peppers and mix with the crab meat. Make room for ackee.
Carefully place ackee into frying pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool for half an hour.
Make rolls by placing 2 tablespoons of mixture into the
spring roll wrapper, seal and deep fry until golden brown.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.
comments powered by Disqus