Saturday, March 06, 2010

Mar 7 - Ackee and Saltfish with Gogoma

Gogoma are Korean Sweet Potatoes. You can buy them as street food during the winter in Korea and at Korean markets. Funny, enough, I used to buy them from vendors in Barcelona too. As well, Koreans buy them by the truck load and roast them in batches at home. They have them ready to reheat as a snack all winter. Korean sweet potatoes are long and narrow like say a tapered zucchini. The skin is purpley-red and the flesh is a eggshell white. Their texture is not firm and does NOT hold up well if you try to use them in cubes as an ingredient. They are best roasted whole with their skin on. When you let them cool off, the flesh pulls away from the crisped skin and it is as easy to peel as a banana.

I went to the H-Mart on Robson today to buy some tomatoes, Dhuck (Rice cake) and regular orange sweet potatoes for dinner. Well, the Dhuck was as a walking snack. I saw that the Korean sweet potatoes were on sale so I went for it. Actually, I do not normally buy these because the best way to cook them is roasting and who bakes potatoes anymore? Or rather who has the time? When they are done, the flesh turns the colour and appearance of an over ripe banana. That is the sugar. They are very sweet. Yummo!

I was not sure if I wanted to have rice with the ackee and I wanted a side. In the end, I made brown rice anyway because I had leftover. I wrap the Gogoma in foil but mom and halmonyee normally just put them batch right on the oven rack. Wash them well! Bake them in the oven at 425 for 40-45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave them in there as the oven cools.

Ackee and Saltfish with Zucchini and Ginger

250 g saltfish (weight before desalination, I used a lb last time but I weighed it after unsalting)
1 bell pepper
1 small roma tomato, chopped (small because I had zucc's too)
1/4 onion
3 scallions aka 'skellions'
few sprigs fresh thyme
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 tin Ackee drained
1/4 t all spice

Today's twist because of what is in the fridge:
1/2 zucchini (Because I have it, totally optional!)
1/2 inch fresh ginger chopped into matchsticks

In a small pan, simmer the saltfish in enough water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside to cool. Flake when cool.

In a pan, heat some vegetable oil. Fry the onions, scallions and vegetables for a few minutes until soft. Add another 1-2T or so of oil. Add the ackee, ginger, spice and herbs. Move gently with a wooden spoon. Ackee has the appearance of scrambled eggs and is a bit delicate. I like the chunks and try to avoid breaking it down too much.

This might seem a tad contrary to low-fat instincts but there are certain things I do not fiddle with. This is the way Stephen, my flatmate in Grad School from Kingston, Jamaica did it. It was his nan's way and he was making it at home one night whisper to me that his secret to let the ackee fry in oil for a few minutes. It takes away the briney preserved taste.

Simmer for a few minutes. Add the salt cod and simmer for a few minutes more. Add some water if it seems to be too dry. Partially cover.

You may want to add some pepper not salt. The salt cod should still have enough salt left in it.

Serve on rice. Rice and beans is the traditional. You only see half a Gogoma but do not fret. I had the other half with my seconds. :-)

Here is the 'Classic Version' with more Tomato. Actually I used a Red Bell Pepper that time too so it was much more colourful. Actually, I really like the zucchini. It added a good texture. Though with the richness of the fish and ackee, I do not think I'll cut back on the tomato next time. If anything, if I use zucchini again, I will cut back on the bell pepper instead. It was YUMMO!

Washed back the spicy goodness with a Cava on day two.

2 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Doug said...

Hi there, I was wondering where you can buy canned ackee in Vancouver? I'm looking forward to trying your recipe.

thanks!

Me said...

Hey Doug, you can find Ackee on Commercial Drive in the shop on the East side about 3 blocks north of the skytrain called Dollar Grocery. But they get snatched up pretty quickly when they get a shipment. I saw them when we stopped in the MONSTROUS great Canadian Superstore on the North Shore on the way to Deep Cove as well. YUMMMM GOOD LUCK! My last tins were from a birthday box Dad shipped from Toronto. :^O I've asked him to stop doing that.