What the Heck is Ackee?

One of the most common questions we’re asked here in Paradise has got to be, "what is ackee?". We serve a silky ackee scramble as part of our Paradise Breakfast (our take on a full English) and as ackee is a firm favourite in Jamaica and hasn’t made it mainstream here yet, we’re not surprised so many of you are perplexed.

The Paradise Breakfast with Scrambled Ackee 

The Paradise Breakfast with Scrambled Ackee 

If you’ve ever had scrambled tofu, then scrambled ackee is similar to that. We don’t add tofu to our dishes because we have concerns about the processing of soya. And now we’ve found such an amazing alternative to tofu, we need worry no more!

We scramble our ackee with a pinch of kala namak, or black salt, which produces a wonderfully satisfying scrambled dish, really quite reminiscent of scrambled eggs. In fact, a lot of you do actually think it’s scrambled egg, as it tastes, and looks, so much like it. But we promise you, it’s not.

But, What on Earth is Ackee??

Despite being famed in Jamaican cooking, ackee is actually native to the countries of West Africa. But, the people of Jamaica have taken ackee to their bosom and use it in their national dish, ackee and saltfish. Usain? Yep, he’s apparently a big ackee fan.

Ackee is a pear-shaped fruit, belonging to the same fruit family as lychees. But don’t let its fruit status fool you, this delight is treated like a vegetable in cooking and has a creamy, mild taste. Unripe ackees are green and it isn’t until they’ve turned a bright red and have burst open, revealing their white flesh called arilli and their shiny black seeds, that they’re ripe enough to eat. Eating them too soon can result in something, umm, affectionately, known as Jamaican Vomiting Sickness. This is because unripe ackees contain a substance toxic to us humans.

But rest assured, ackee eaten outside of Jamaica, including in our café, is of the ripe, safe variety.

Ackee is a great source of belly-friendly, heart healthy fibre, potassium, iron and vitamin C. 

And it isn’t Just About Scrambled Vegan Ackee…

One of my favourite pastimes is scrolling through Amazing Ackee’s Instagram account. Honestly, what this girl doesn’t know about ackee, ain’t worth knowing. She makes ackee into literally anything. Ackee hot chocolate? Yep. Fritters, pizza, salad dressing? Yep, yep, yep. Ackee cake and ice cream? You betcha.

So, we hope that’s answered your question. The only thing left is to try it, so come on down for a vegan scrambled ackee breakfast with us :) 


Egle Adomelyte