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Jamaican Run Dung...Seafood Delight Issue #006
September 20, 2004


I don’t know why this method of cooking is called Run Dung, but you will see later that it may be that the process takes some time and hence the name.

The traditional run dung meal takes a long time to make and because of that, I think, this dish was not readily available on every corner cook shop in Jamaica.

Even today you can hardly find this tasty Jamaican Dish in restaurants. And if you do happen to find it being served, it is not a usual menu item.

The most common rung dung dish is Mackerel Run Dung. We traditionally use mackerel cured in brine instead of fresh. This type of cured mackerel can be found in most grocery stores.

O.K. Here is the modern easy method for making Mackerel Run Dung.

12 oz. Canned Coconut Milk

1 lb. Salted Mackerel

1 Large Onion (chopped)

1 Tomato (diced)

3 sprig. Thyme

1 clove Garlic (crushed)

3 cups Water

Bring water to boil in a saucepan and then add salted mackerel. Allow the mackerel to boil for about 45 minutes on medium heat; this boiling process will remove the salt from the fish. In the meantime, pour the coconut milk into a skillet and boil the coconut milk.

The reason for boiling the coconut milk is make flavored cooking oil. So you will allow the coconut milk to boil until it turns into oil. This will take some time, so be patient.

Next remove the mackerel pot from the stove and pour off the water into the kitchen sink. Add some fresh water to the pot and then let it sit for about ten minutes. You will remove the bones from the fish at this point.

Now the oil should be made from the boiled coconut milk. Add the seasonings to the oil and cook them until the onion pieces are soft but not burnt. Now remove the mackerel from the cold water and add it to the flavored oil in the skillet. Use a fork to flake the fish into the oil. Cook for another five minutes. Yah Mon! Run Dung ready!!!

Curry Shrimp Run Dung

12 oz. Canned Coconut Milk

¼ lb. Shrimp

1 Large Onion (chopped)

1 Tomato (diced)

3 sprig. Thyme

1 clove Garlic (crushed)

½ tsp. Curry Powder

3 tbsp. Lime juice

2 cups water

½ tsp. Salt.

Wash shrimp in lime juice and water solution. Place shrimp in a plate and then add salt. Boil coconut milk as described above. Add the curry powder to the oil and let it dissolve for about 2 minutes. Add seasonings as used above. Now add shrimp and cook on medium for about 8 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.

You can serve any of these dishes with rice, boiled bananas, potatoes, or combined with any of your favorite staple food.

Do your own experiments with other types of seafood like Salmon, Halibut, and Lobster etc. I would like to hear how everything turns out. Yah Mon!

I feel like I should address the subject of Coconut Milk here, because I have heard this description used in ways that have baffled me for some time. Coconut Milk as I know it is made from extracting the juice from the coconut with a small amount of water.

The opaque liquid that is inside the coconut is known as coconut water where I come from. So when you get ready to make run dung make sure you get the white juice instead of the semi clear liquid that some people refer to as coconut milk.

Here is how you can make coconut milk.

A coconut has three small round “eyes” at its top. Two of the eyes are hard and one is soft. Search until you find the soft one by poking the eyes with a sharp knife. Poke out the soft eye, turn the coconut upside down and let the water flow out into a drinking glass.

You can drink the coconut water just like that or add your favorite liquor to it or throw it away.

Now you’ll have to break the nut with an impact device like a hammer or hit it against a hard surface to break it.

The nut will usually break into two pieces automatically. Further break these two pieces into two. Using a dull knife, like a dining knife, pry the white coconut meat from the shell. Slowly push the knife between the point where the meat meets the shell and work the knife back and forth until the meat is separated from the shell.

This is not easy, so be very careful with that knife.

You can grate the coconut meat with a grater to get coconut pulp, or you can put the small coconut pieces into a blender and puree the coconut. Use a blender.

Add small pieces of coconut to the blender with enough water to assist the pureed process. Remove the coconut pulp from the blender and add about a cup of water.

Squeeze the pulp in your fist and let the milk flow through a strainer into a bowl. Repeat this process by adding water to the pulp each time. Continue to do this until there is no more milk left in the pulp.

That’s how home-made coconut milk is made.

You can use this to make run dung or just make coconut oil.

Although this is time-consuming, there is a great benefit to making run dung from scratch. Oh yeah! The great benefit is the coconut milk forms a film around the side of the pot; we call “custard,” which is very tasty and blends in well with the seasonings and fish.

Just thinking about this “custard” makes my mouth water.

COOKING TIP **************************************************************************************************************************************************

You can use this same coconut oil to make cold medicine for babies by frying Garlic in this oil, and then bottle the oil and use a teaspoonful each time. This is what the old folks used before the prevalence of modern “cold remedies.”


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