Saltfish run down is an old traditional Jamaican dish. Contrary to the look, it is tasty. Creamy and full of flavour, this is the one unpopular Jamaican recipe you must try!
What is Run Down (Rundung)?
A Jamaican rundown or rundung as we pronounce it in Jamaica dish is basically any food cooked down in coconut milk. This could be anything from seafood to vegetables.
The most popular Jamaican rundown is the mackerel rundown, which I shared here.
The sweet flavour from the coconut, the saltiness from the fish and spices such as thyme, pimento berries and scotch bonnet pepper create this finger-licking dish.
Jamaican Saltfish Run Down or Rundung
Saltfish is fish that have been dried until all the moisture has been extracted then cured with salt. When you are ready to use the saltfish, take much take to remove as much of the salt as possble before preparing the recipe.
There re a number of ways to do this, wash the fish several times, soak it for long periods or boil it a number of times. The method may depend on the type of saltfish you use for the recipe.
Boneless skinless saltfish don’t require all three method. Boiling the fish twice for ten minutes is good enough. On the other hand, if you use saltfish that contain bones, you may have to do all three methods.
Ingredients For Saltfish Rundown
Here is what you need for the saltfish rundown;
- Saltfish: I am using saltfish with bones and skin, which means most care is needed to get rid of the salt.
- Coconut milk: Use homemade coconut milk if you want that authentic traditional Jamaican taste. You can use canned coconut milk also. You will get a great result nonetheless.
- Essential Ingredients: Onion, thyme, scallion, pimento (allspice), garlic, and most important scotch bonnet pepper.
How To Cook Jamaican Saltfish Run Down (Run dung)
The secret to getting this dish right is removing the right amount of saltfish from the saltfish. It doesn’t matter much if you remove all the salt from the fish because you can add more when cooking. But if you do not get rid of the salt and it overpowers the dish, you won’t enjoy its sweet coconut flavour.
- Prepare the saltfish well:Thoroughly wash the salt from the fish. Cover with cold water and put to soak. I soak the saltfish overnight. Change the water two the three times. Put to boil for 20 minutes in fresh water. Because I soaked the saltfish overnight, I only boiled once.
- Coconut milk to custard cream: Put the coconut milk to cook until it’s reduced to a custard-like sauce. You know this when the coconut starts separating from the custard cream.
- Combine all the ingredients: Once the oil sits on top of the custard sauce, add all the other ingredients to cook and absorb the coconut flavour. During this phase, keep stirring to prevent burning.
What To Serve With Rundung?
Jamaican saltfish run down (rundung) goes with many things. The main that Jamaican have run down with is “hard food“, which is boiled ground provision and boiled dumplings!
Saltfish rundown goes well with fried dumplings, fried plantain, bammy and even boiled rice.
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Jamaican Saltfish Rundown (Rundung)
- 2 Cups Homemade coconut milk canned coconut is an option
- 250 g (0.55 lb) Saltfish
- 25 g (0.88 oz) Yellow onion chopped
- 1 Garlic clove crushed
- 50 g (1.76 oz) Bell pepper chopped
- 15 g (0.53 oz) Scallions chopped
- 3 Sprigs thyme
- 4 Pimento berries (allspice)
- 3 g (0.11 oz) Scotch bonnet pepper Seed removed and finely chopped
- 15 g (0.53 oz) Tomato chopped
- First, wash away all the excess salt from the saltfish and soak it in cold water overnight. If you are using boneless, skinless fish, you only need to soak for 2 to 3 hours. Change the water several times.
- Pour away the water from the saltfish and place it in a saucepan with fresh water and boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Boneless saltfish won't need this much time.
- Pour away the boiled water and wash the saltfish in cold water to cool it. Remove the saltfish skin/fish scale and debone. Flack the saltfish and put it aside.
- In a saucepan on high heat, put the coconut milk to cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until you can see the coconut oil separating from the custard.
- Stir in all the other ingredients to the coconut milk.
- Cook for another 10 minutes until the bell pepper softens. Stir consistently to prevent burning.
- The amount of scotch bonnet pepper you use is really up to you. I like my food spicy. If you don’t, use less pepper than I use.