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Salted Mackerel Rundown

Updated: Aug 4, 2018

So let me give you the rundown…see what I did there? lol Salt Mackerel Rundown is a popular Jamaican breakfast dish. All of us Jamaicans say “Run DUNG” not “Rundown” but either way you say it, it’s yummy. It was often called “dip and fall back” by many folks back in the day. Traditionally we would remove the flesh from a dry coconut. Use a fine grater to shred the flesh, soak in water then squeeze and strain to extract milk. But in recent times many people just cut up the coconut, add water and use blender to puree the flesh or just purchase their favourite brand of canned coconut milk. Vegetables, seasonings and thyme along with the coconut milk are simmered till reduced and then salted mackerel added. If I’m in a hurry or busy I definitely just use canned coconut milk and instead of waiting on the sauce to reduce to add mackerel I just add everything at once and leave the pot to simmer while I continue my other chores. However for that nice ‘curdly’ authentic country style flavour and look you need to ‘cook down’(reduce) the coconut milk till you see the oil rising and then add the soaked cleaned mackerel at the end. Rundown is usually served with Boiled ground provisions or breadfruit or Dumplings. If you’re unfamiliar with this dish please note that the Salted Mackerel is often found in those huge pickling buckets near the meat section of your local West Indian store so definitely don’t buy the canned mackerel. Sidenote: Our Caribbean friends in Grenada have a dish called “Oil down” which has some similarities to our rundown. I think I might try it one day! Have you had it before?


1 tbsp coconut oil

1 onion

½ red sweet pepper

½ green sweet pepper

1 small tomato, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely minced (optional)

4 cups coconut milk*

4 sprigs Thyme

1 stalk Scallion, diced

Black pepper

Scotch bonnet

1 ½ lb Salted Mackerel


Salted Mackerel Prep:

1. In a glass bowl cover the mackerel with plenty water and soak overnight. The next day, drain and discard the salty water.

2. In a pot boil the mackerel in enough water just to remove more salt without leaving it completely fresh.

3. Use a knife to slip off the excess skin. Remove the head, tail and bones. You may flake the fish or leave them whole.

Fresh Coconut milk:

1. Crack two medium sized coconuts and drain their water in a container. Use heavy knife or mallet to crack the coconut into medium pieces. Hold each piece of coconut one at a time in one hand. Carefully slip a knife between the white flesh and the brown stringy husk and lift while sliding the kniife in order to separate them. Cut the flesh into small pieces.

2. Pour the cut pieces into a blender and add 4 cups water. Blend a little at a time if you have a small blender.

3. Use strainer and squeeze to extract the milk.

Salt Mackerel Rundown:

1. In a pot add the coconut oil and sauté the onion, sweet pepper, tomato then the garlic.

2. Add thyme, scallion, coconut milk, black pepper and a whole scotch bonnet pepper. Simmer over low - medium heat till the coconut milk reduces and has an almost curdled appearance where you can see the oil separating.

3. Add the prepped mackerel and simmer for another 4 - 8 minutes. Serve hot.


*You may follow the steps above for extraction of coconut milk or use canned coconut milk if you prefer to

Yield about 4 servings

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