The Jamaican fruit ackee is often described as similar to scrambled eggs. The fruit was originally brought to the Caribbean from Africa during the days of the slave trade. It gained in popularity among the people of Jamaica as it provided an inexpensive source of protein. It is traditionally a part of the Jamaican national dish, Ackee and Saltfish. However, ackee itself offers an excellent choice for a vegan, gluten-free meal. The ackee fruit is ready to harvest when its red pod splits open naturally to expose creamy yellow flesh topped by three shiny black seeds. The pod, the seeds and the red inner membranes are removed to leave only the yellow flesh, which is rinsed and then ready for cooking. The following recipe for Vegan Gluten-Free Ackee is appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
NOTE: Until the pod of a fresh ackee opens naturally on the tree, it is poisonous! Be careful. The red inner membrane must be discarded as well. Use only the yellow flesh of the food. Therefore, using canned ackee is not only convenient, it ensures that all safety precautions have been taken.
Vegan Gluten-Free Ackee Recipe
- 1 can Jamaican ackee, drained
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 diced spring onion
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 medium tomato, chopped, or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper, or 1 Habanero pepper (optional)
- Sea salt to taste
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally until soft, approximately three minutes.
- Stir in minced garlic and chopped red bell pepper. Cook one minute, the add the spring onion, thyme, and tomatoes. Cook. Stirring, for about one minute.
- Add the ackee, salt, and Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper. Sor gently to coat the ackee with seasonings.
- Cover and reduce heat. Simmer five minutes.
- Serve with dumplings, callaloo, and fried plantains.