If you're looking for a healthy ackee recipe, why not try this vegan ackee stir fry with ginger, chilli and garlic? It's full of flavour and a great way of enjoying some Caribbean flavours.
For the past couple of years, whenever I go into the supermarket near my work, I've enjoyed looking at the Caribbean section. There are various sauces, dried salt fish and tins of ackee. It's the ackee that has most intrigued me - I just couldn't imagine what it tasted like.
What is Ackee?
The Ackee in this stir fry recipe is the fruit of the Ackee tree which grows in the Caribbean, although the tree is native to West Africa. Ackee is traditionally served with saltfish in Jamaica and is actually poisonous until it is ripe.
Can Ackee kill you?
Well, I don't want to scare you before you even read the recipe! Tinned ackee is perfectly safe to eat and as long as you don't pick and eat it before it has ripened you're safe!
It may sound a little scary and maybe that's why I just looked at it for two years.
One of the delicacies of Jamaica
Even so, I love trying new foods and after reading Levi Roots describe ackee as, one of the delicacies of Jamaica and a very special food in Caribbean Food Made Easy I knew I had to try it. Indeed, it was clearly a sign that I need to be a bit more adventurous.
As I was cooking ackee for the first time I followed Roots' recipe. The colours are supposed to represent the colours of the Jamaican flag. Could I get more Jamaican than that?
Well, only if I'd chosen to serve it with salt fish!
What ingredients do you need for ackee stir fry?
To make this vegan ackee recipe you'll need:
- Tinned ackee - this is often available in the supermarket these days in the world food section
- Root ginger - this adds so much flavour
- A chilli pepper - Ideally use scotch bonnet chillies but if you can't get hold of them then any chillies will work as an alternative
- Red pepper
- Soy sauce
- Spring onion
- Lime juice - It's always best to use a fresh lime if you can
- Peanuts - Plain raw peanuts are fine or use dry roasted ones for extra flavour
- Fresh coriander (cilantro)
What does this ackee stir fry taste like?
What did I think of this vegetarian ackee recipe? Well, the texture was very soft, a bit like lumps of soft scrambled egg and the taste was also very delicate. The ackee took on the flavours of the lime, the soy sauce and the coriander without having much of its own flavour.
Overall, I'd say ackee is not a vegetable I could love, but not one I could dislike either. I'd happily eat it again but whether I liked the dish or not would probably depend on what it was served with and the flavours of the other ingredients.
So, do you eat ackee? And if so, how is it prepared?
Can you adapt this ackee recipe?
Feel free to add your own touch to this recipe. You could add some peas or sweetcorn. Diced red onion would go well too. You could also add some cooked kidney beans or black beans
What can you serve with this stir fried ackee recipe?
I served this with rice but you could wrap it all up in a flatbread or stuff it in a pitta. You could even serve it on toast so it's like the scrambled eggs that it looks like!
More Caribbean Recipes and Caribbean Inspired Recipes
You might also like my mung bean sprouts stir fry!
Ackee Stir Fry
- 10 g root ginger sliced into thin batons
- 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
- 1 chilli pepper sliced
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 280 g tin of ackee drained and rinsed
- 1 spring onion sliced
- ½ lime juiced
- 1 tablespoon peanuts raw or dry roasted, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) chopped
- Heat a little oil in a wok and add the ginger, garlic, chilli and red pepper. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the soy sauce. Stir then add the ackee. Be very careful with the ackee so that it doesn't fall apart. Turn the heat down and cover the wok for about 4 minutes so the ackee is heated through.
- Drizzle with the lime juice, top with the chopped coriander, spring onions and chopped peanuts.
- Serve with rice.