Veggie Friendly » Blog Archive » Weekend Herb Blogging - Ackee Scramble
Filed by Kate Pounder on 10-06-2007

Andy I chose to spend half our honeymoon in Jamaica because we’d heard that the Rastafarian movement had bequeathed the island a strong vegetarian heritage.

Of all the vegetarian food we stumbled on, I was most taken by a fruit called ackee.

Ackee is cooked before being eaten. It has canary yellow flesh about the colour of jackfruit. The flesh is very soft and often separates into curved pieces the shape of a bird’s claw when cooked.

Ackee breakfast

Ackee is legendary in Jamaica. The traditional (and still popular) Jamaican breakfast is ackee with saltfish. However, when we were there we were given a vegetarian version of scrambled ackee with capsicum and onion, served with small, savoury dumplings (called Johnny cakes) and fried plantain banana.

Cooked Ackee is often compared to egg, partly for its colour, partly for its texture, but also for the taste which is creamy and readily absorbs other flavours.

As a vegetarian I think it makes a great substitute for egg - certainly better than tofu. Best of all, you don’t end up with that oily, heavy feeling that comes from eating scrambled egg or an omelette.

Ackee trees were a common sight in Negril (the place we stayed in Jamaica) and small shops and roadside market stalls often sold fresh ackee. I was interested to read Sarina from TriniGourmet’s comments that ackees could be bought in cans in Trinidad but they were very expensive. I had the same experience in Jamaica. When we went to the local supermarket to get some ackee to take home we were shocked to see that a can cost over $6.

ackee tin

I thought Weekend Herb Blogging would be a great opportunity to try my hand at ackee scramble, so I cracked open the can today. I was pretty pleased with the result.

This recipe for ackee scramble is a mix of advice I was given in Jamaica, this recipe from the BBC, and some ideas of my own.


1 can of ackee, drained
2 small chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 capsicum, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 tsp of thyme
black pepper
1 tsp of capers


Sautee the onion and garlic in oil, then add the chilli, pepper and thyme.

Add the capsicum and tomato and cook on a medium heat for another five minutes. Add the ackee and capers. Cook for another couple of minutes until the ackee is cooked through.

Serve immediately.

my ackee

Notes on the recipe

I think the basic version of this dish uses onion, thyme, black pepper, tomato and / or scotch bonnet peppers and ackee. Adding both tomatoes and capsicum beefs it up. I added chilli because I couldn’t find hot peppers, and the capers to add a salty vegetarian touch.

When we were in Jamaica this dish was always served on a plate like scrambled eggs. Because we were eating it for lunch I served it on top of brown rice (another thing I loved about Jamaican cooking).


  • Ackee originated in West Africa, but was imported to Jamaica by Captain William Bligh in the late 1700s. It is now used predominantly in Jamaican cooking.
  • The fruit has a reddish skin, but inside the flesh is yellow and the seeds are big and black.
  • As anyone in Jamaica will tell you, ackee is poisonous if eaten before it’s ripe. The only edible part of the ackee is the arils (the yellow pieces of flesh that grow over the seed).
  • You shouldn’t cook with it until the fruit has ripened naturally. You can tell because the skin cracks open so that the seeds are exposed.
  • Ackee is usually boiled before it is cooked - the BBC site has more detailed instructions on how to prepare it.
  • Another way to cook with ackee is to use it in a souffle. I wonder whether it could be used in small savoury tarts as an egg substitute, but unfortunately we only brought one can home with us!

For more information, see wikipedia,

This week’s weekend herb blogging is kindly hosted by Ulrike at Kuchenlaten. Visit her site to see the full round-up.

9 Comments posted on "Weekend Herb Blogging - Ackee Scramble"
Readers » Weekend Herb Blogging - Ackee Scramble on June 10th, 2007 at 11:52 pm #

[…] Оригинал сообщения от kpounder тут… […]

Andy on June 10th, 2007 at 11:59 pm #

I can vouch for this odd vegetable. I’ve never seen ackee in Australia, and probably never will, but it was good to reminisce about our breakfasts in Jamaica.

Ulrike on June 11th, 2007 at 1:58 am #

That is an interesting fruit. Thanks for sharing this recipe for WHB

Helene on June 11th, 2007 at 7:05 pm #

It´s amazing to learn about a new fruit. Thanks for sharing. :)

Kalyn on June 12th, 2007 at 12:04 am #

Great post! I’ve been interested in reggae music for a long time so I love the idea that you went to Jamaica for your honeymoon; I’d love to go there. The more I read about this interesting fruit, the more I wish I could try it. It’s really a very unique food, and your recipe sounds great.

The TriniGourmet on June 12th, 2007 at 2:14 pm #

Your ackee lookin’ good gyul :D

kpounder on June 12th, 2007 at 7:08 pm #

Ulrike - cheers for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and coming up with the map.

Helene and Kalyn - Ackee is an amazing fruit. I just wish we could find it in Sydney. Jamaica is an interesting place - if you do go there make sure you get out of the obvious tourist towns (like Negril and Montego Bay) and explore the country.

Trini - Mine didn’t turn out exactly as I planned… but glad to know I get the thumbs up!

Kim on September 3rd, 2007 at 3:23 am #

Glad to hear you enjoyed visiting my Island. Akee prepared with other vegetables also goes lovely with pasta. Add some cubed cheese or cheese sauce for something adventurous.

Steve on May 29th, 2008 at 2:15 pm #

Have a few tins of ackee which I brought back from my trip to Jamaica this year. Will sell. Please email me at

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