Fry Bake and Saltfish

Carnival is subdued with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. All Catholics, during this time, begin a self imposed abstinence from meat, either for the entire 40 days of Lent or on Fridays, as a means of bringing oneself from the materialism of the world to a prayerful state of contemplation and spiritual reflection.  As a matter of fact, fish is preferred over any other type of meat during the Lenten season, and its demand is reflected in the higher prices in the market place.

Fry Bake and Saltfish for Lent

Today, we had fry bake and salt fish for dinner. Salt fish is a favorite in Trinidad and Tobago because of its versatility in many of the dishes we prepare. Salt fish is curried with bodi, potato, string beans etc., it’s used in buljol and in accra, it also makes a perfect side dish with ground provision (dasheen, eddoes, tannia, yam, green fig, cassava etc.), and you just can’t forget a good plate of dumpling and saltfish. Salt fish also goes great with another popular dish called Oil Down when you don’t have any other meat or you just want something different for a change.

Fry bake and saltfish recipe, simply trini cooking

 

Salt fish, also called bacalao or bacallao, bacalhau (to the Portuguese), is dried Pollock (Cod) or sometimes Shark preserved with salt. Here in Trinidad salt fish could either be bought at the market by the pound (lbs.) or at the supermarket in packets or in trays.

Saltfish in trays: this one is the Pollock.

Saltfish in a pack: this one is the Shark
(notice the difference in the texture)
As you would see, in the following recipe, before salt fish is used it is boiled in water to take out some of the salt and to also add some moisture back into the fish. One thing to note though, is that you don’t need to add any additional salt to your cooking; yes, salt fish is that salty even after boiling it.How could someone fry bake? Do you fry then bake? Ha Ha Ha !!! …… For us in Trinidad, a bake is a type of flat bread that we cook on a Platin or tawah (griddle) or a pot. Another variety is the fried bake (I intentionally put the title as “fry bake” to reflect how we really pronounce it) that is, of course, fried in a little bit of oil and not deep fried.

Fry Bake and Saltfish Recipe

 

FRY BAKE AND SALT FISH

Salt fish:

½ lb. Salt fish

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 small onion, chopped finely

¾ lb. tomatoes, chopped

½ tsp. chive, chopped

½ tsp. thyme, chopped (Spanish or fine leaf)

2 tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil (to fry the saltfish)

1 small hot pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Bake:

3½ cups flour

½ cup wheat flour

4-5 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1½ cups water or slightly more

1 tbsp. sugar

Oil for frying (bake)

 

Salt Fish:

Boil the salt fish for about 10 minutes to remove some of the salt.
Remove skin and bones; wash and squeeze the saltfish and break into small pieces.

Cook the onions, garlic, tomatoes, chive and thyme in oil until slightly brown.
Add the flaked salt fish and hot pepper and allow it to cook for 10 minutes.
Please don’t add salt.

The salt fish is now ready

 

Fry Bake:

 

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add salt and sugar and mix well

Add the water all at once, if dough is still dry when mixed,
add enough water to make smooth dough.
Cover with a damp towel and allow to relax for ½ hour .
Divide dough into small balls (makes about 12 balls).
Roll ball of dough out on a floured board to 1/4 inch thick in a round shape.
Fry in hot oil (do not deep fry),
turn once and drain on kitchen paper. Serve cool.
Fry bake

Well that’s it for another post. If you don’t want to fry you could also try roast bake with the saltfish. It tastes just as well and you don’t have to deal with hot oil but rather a hot tawah. Bye for now and do enjoy your fry bake and saltfish.

 

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14 Responses to Fry Bake and Saltfish

  1. chennette February 13, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    Just discovered your blog – love what you’re doing. And of course the Trini dictionary!

  2. Padilla February 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    I thank you for your comment. Come back soon I have lots more local recipes to come.

  3. Nikki March 31, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Hello,
    I love this site you have, I have marked it under my favorites.
    My boyfriend is from Trinidad and has been craving saltfish and provision for a while now. I have made other trini dishes, today I am going to attempt to use your recipe.
    Thanks so much!
    Nikki

  4. Nikki April 1, 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    Hello,
    Just wanted to let you know how everything went! He LOVED the saltfish and was amazed I made it so good, the first time around.
    Thanks again for your recipe, I will be using it all the time.
    Would love to try more of your recipes.
    Nikki

  5. Padilla April 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm #

    Nikki, you make me smile. I am glad to be of some help. hope you visit again.:)

  6. Dr PJ Totesau April 3, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    I love this site. it brings back so many memories when i was a teen in Trini. I want to go live in the bush rite now because of this site. Great recipes too. All da best…

  7. Chedee October 2, 2008 at 4:24 am #

    Hi I truly ador ethis site, Can you please try to help me with two treats, the famous spponge cake like tanty use to make and the trini chinese chicken, the one with the five spice and oyster sauce. Keep up the inspiring site

    THANK YOU,

  8. simplytrinicooking.com October 2, 2008 at 7:41 pm #

    Thank you Chedee for your comment I will see what I could do about the sponge cake and chinese style chicken but keep in mind I have a long list of other recipes to post.

  9. Oceanblue01 September 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Not everyone can make fry bake and I am one of them. I am studying in Brasil and I was just dying for some fry bake. I called my mother to get the recipe from her but she forgot to email it to me. So I risked a search on google and was overjoyed to find this. I love the way you presented everything. I just came back from the grocery with my ingredients, so that is my diner right there. My brasilian friends find it funny that we eat saltfish throughout the year. Here they eat it mainly as a Christmas dish. Also saltfish is really expensive here, so they see it as some kind of luxury to eat saltfish. I dont know how the prices are in trini though.

    Thanks again

  10. Felix September 8, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    Actually It’s not that expensive here in Trinidad. And being a true Trini I always have a pack or two :-) Thanks for writing.

  11. sassymatts February 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    What about adding ocro to the mix, I have seen this being done before!

  12. Felix February 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    @sassymatts You can if you want to. This dish is very versatile.

  13. Nicole June 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Luuuuuuvs this! Thank u!!!!

  14. Jess August 10, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Just tried this recipe for the first time. Thank you I got many accolades!

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