Banana, Ackee and Salt fish- A Paleo/Candida Diet Remix

I want to share one of my favourite dishes that I eat even on this highly restrictive diet. The candida diet means I don’t eat any wheat, sugars, fruit, yeast, or dairy so I find myself eating meals that are a cross between paleo and the candida diet. The reason I mix it with the paleo diet is because the candida diet closely resembles paleo, except there’s no fruit allowed (not even natural sugars). Paleo is commonly referred to as a “caveman” diet because it is the presumed diet of early humans which was comprised of: lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and seeds/nuts.

Ackee and salt fish is hands down is one of my favourite Jamaican meals. My paleo/candida diet remix for the very traditional ackee and salt fish is quite simple because although I love boiled dumpling, it’s not permitted on my diet so I decided to substitute it with fried okra instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Grace ackee
  • 1 package of salt cod fish
  • 1 package of okra
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 stalk of green onion
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of chili flakes
  • A garnish of parsley leaves

Directions

  1. Start to wash and cut the okra into 1 to 2-inch chunks, dice the green onion and bell peppers and set them all aside.
  2. Add approximately 4 cups of cold water in two separate pots on medium heat with cover half on. Once boiled add half of the cod fish package into one pot, cover half way and let boil for about 10 to 15 minutes (make sure water is covering fish). Test the salt fish after 10 minutes to see if water has been absorbed and to test its saltiness. If the fish is too salty for you drain the water from the pot and add a fresh batch of cold water. Let boil for another 5 to 10 minutes tasting it periodically to ensure it’s at the salt flavour you like. (Try not to boil it for more than 20 minutes as all the salt will be washed off). Once it’s to your liking, turn off the burner and drain the pot.  
  3. Peel the green banana by running it under water and use a knife to make an incision down the length of the banana in order to peel it (it helps if the banana is wet when you do this). Once the pot has come to a boil, add in the banana and let it boil out for approximately 15 minutes on medium heat (make sure there’s enough water covering the banana. Sometimes water may need to be added if it dries out so keep checking periodically). Once it’s soft drain off the water and turn off the burner.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (or coconut oil) to a pan and once it’s heated, add the green onions and bell pepper. Let it simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes until it softens.
  5. Add salt fish to the pot and season it with black pepper or any other dry spice of your choice. Open the can of ackee and drain it before adding it to the pot with the salt fish. Once all contents are in, add thyme, parsley, and chili flakes. Lightly mix in the ackee with salt fish and let it simmer. Add about ¼ cup of water and cover the pot for about 10 minutes until it cooks down.
  6. In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Once it’s melted, add in the okra mix around. Let it fry it for about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove okra, ackee with salt fish, and banana from the pots onto a plate. Slice an avocado to put on the side and enjoy.
  8. I can never have too many vegetables, so I like to eat heaping amounts to keep myself full.  Frying okra in coconut oil has become one of my favourite ways to cook it because the coconut flavour and the texture of the okra go well together. Lastly, green banana is a perfect addition to the plate because it’s a resistant starch which is known for being high in fiber.

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