Salt Fish and Bake

Two years in a row may have just started a tradition in our family… Trinidadian food for my hunk of a husband’s birthday.  Last year for the Matador’s birthday I decided to cook him a Trini feast for the first time ever!  I had never attempted to cook any of those dishes before so that in itself was a feat.  With weeks of preparation and online ordering of special spices and ingredients, I passed with flying colors.  Curry chicken, stew chicken, pelau, phelourie, shark and bake, and doubles… my hubby was blewn away… and so was I, quite frankly :)  This year’s menu wasn’t as gargantuan as last but still plentiful… salt fish and bake, pelau and Trini stew chicken. 

Although LA is saturated with an entire spectrum of ethnic food – we have yet to find a true Trinidadian restaurant.  There’s one place called Caribbean Treehouse that we used to go to for roti.  They had a very limited menu and their food was just mediocre.   I decided to take it upon myself to learn the cuisine and searched high and low for the most authentic recipes and ingredients.  Even though we are thousands of miles away from the Matador’s roots, I want him to continue to have the comfort foods he grew up eating… and plus, we want to introduce Max’s palet to the different spices early so he grow to love the food as much as we do. 

 Here’s the Salt Fish and Bake…

Salt Fish Ingredients

  • ½ lb. of salt fish / dried cod – I found these at a local Korean market… look for dried cod = salted
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. of minced cilantro
  • 3 sprigs of green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 tsp of thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp of serrano green pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

Fried Bake

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of wheat flour
  • 4 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups of water – add more if dough is still hard
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • Oil for frying

Preparation Instructions

  1. Boil dried cod in water for about 20 minutes to get rid of the salt and to bring moisture back to the fish.  Taste the cod after about 20 minutes… if still very salty – boil again for another 5-10 minutes. 
  2. In the meantime, combine all the dry ingredients together into a bowl (sift flour for smoother consistency) – add water and knead for about 5 minutes.  Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes
  3. Drain fish and let cool for a minute.  Remove skin and start breaking apart the meat and remove all bones.  Then use a fork and shred fish more finely. 
  4. Heat olive oil in pan – add onions, garlic, pepper, and thyme – stir together.  Add tomatoes, green onions and cilantro… stir for two minutes.  Add salt fish and stir – leave on medium heat for 4 minutes and remove pan off stove.   DO NOT ADD ANYMORE SALT.
  5. Heat another pan of oil (vegetable oil) for frying the bake
  6. Sprinkle flour onto a cutting board – take a small piece of dough (ball size of golf ball) and flatten out keeping a round shape.  Place flattened dough into hot oil – fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes on medium to high heat.  Remove onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak any grease/oil. 

Serve salt fish and bake on a plate – I added a side of simple salad with dressing but you can eat it alone.