Jamaican Saltfish Recipe


I love Jamaican food. Obviously I’m biased. But I don’t care. Big up to all my Caribbean massive! I love Ackee & Saltfish, our national dish. However, since I couldn’t get any fresh ackee, I just made the Saltfish with lots of veggies and of course, some ground provisions. Ground provisions are what West Indians call the root vegetables that normally accompany our proteins in meals. Yam, banana, potato….those sorts of foods.

Below I have listed all the ingredients you will need to make this dish. I always make some with enough to eat for a meal the next day, tweak it if you’re just looking for a one meal recipe. This is one of my favorite Jamaican breakfast dishes.

Saltfish (Cod, baccalao, Pollock)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole clove of garlic for seasoning the oil
1/2 large onion
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 cup okra, chopped
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (optional)
1 bunch thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup ketchup

dumplin (recipe below)
green bananas, skin sliced for easy removal
plantain, skin sliced for easy removal
red skin potato
butternut squash

Dumplin Recipe
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

Place fish in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, dump the water and repeat process as many times as you need to reduce salt content. I normally nail it in 2-3 depending on how salty the fish is. Once boiled, let it cool then break apart with your fingers and set aside.

Now it’s time to chop up all your veggies. Once everything is chopped up, set that aside.

Combine all dumplin ingredients, adding the water gradually. Knead with the heel of your palm until you have a stiff, slightly sticky dough. Roll into a log and then break off 1 to 1 1/2 inch sections. Roll the dough into a ball and then press it between your palms. Hold the dough between your forefinger and thumb and rotate to shape, make a small indent in the middle. Repeat this step for the entire log of dough. Set dumplin aside.

Now that we’re all prepped, it’s time to start cooking!

In a large sauce pan, add the oil and place over medium low heat. Add 2 sprigs of thyme and a few slices of scallion as well as a clove of garlic, to season the oil. Be sure to remove items if they begin to burn.

Once the oil is hot, add tomato’s, onions, garlic, scallion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add bell peppers, okra and scotch bonnet pepper. Mix ingredients so that everything is incorporated and nothing sticks to the pan. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low.

Fill a large pot with water, this is for all of our ground provisions. Add salt to the water and place on medium high heat. Place dumplin, potato’s, banana and plantain in the pot. Bring to a rolling boil and then add butternut squash. The squash will cook faster than everything else so wait a bit before adding it to the pot.

Add the shredded Saltfish to your veggies. Mix the ketchup with 1/4 cup of water and then pour over the Saltfish and veggie mixture. Add remaining 4 thyme sprigs and cover.

The Saltfish is mostly cooked from the boils we did earlier so it won’t take much longer. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes and then check on it. All veggies should be soft, bubbling in a reddish sauce. Once cooked, turn off heat and leave covered.

Once all of the ground provisions in the pot of water feel soft and a fork easily goes through, turn off the heat. Banana should be easily removable from skin since we made that slice down the back.

Serve while hot and enjoy this little taste of island life. I’m obsessed with pepper so I’m having mine with some Jamaican hot sauce on the side.

Tag me of you try the recipe out! What other meals do you want to see me make?

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