Bajan fish cakes – become a legend with this simple recipe
Bajan fish cakes are an island staple. You’ll find them for sale at the side of the road or as an appetiser in bars and restaurants across the island of Barbados. Of course, not all fish cakes are made equal – at least so would most who sell them have you believe. You will find the not-so-modestly-named Hot Legendary Fishcakes sold at the roadside across the island from Oistins and Bridgetown in the south to Speightstown on the north west coast.
But you can become a legend in your own lunchtime by following this simple recipe and making your own fishcakes whilst staying in your villa in Barbados or once you get home.
• 500g salt cod*
• 1 Lime
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Sprinkle of curry powder
• 1 Onion
• 2 Spring onions
• 1 Red pepper
• 4 Cloves of garlic
• Sprig of thyme
• 1 Large potato
• Chilli or Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce^ to taste
• Self-raising flour
• Oil for frying
* Salt cod is available in all supermarkets in Barbados and is also available from fishmongers in the UK. It can be kept out of the fridge in a dry environment for several months.
^ Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce is not for the faint hearted but will be found on the tables of all but the finest restaurants – a little as you might find tomato ketchup in the UK. It is available in supermarkets across Barbados and is also available in some UK supermarkets including ASDA.
Soak the salt cod in water overnight. Shred the salt cod and briefly marinate with the juice of the lime, some freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of curry powder.
While the fish is marinating, boil the large potato and mash it, leaving a little of the water while you mash. The aim is to create a starchy liquid, which will help bind the fish cakes. Chop the onions, garlic, red pepper and thyme and blend them to create a purée. Add the purée and the potato to the fish and mix together thoroughly. At this point you can add some chopped chilli or Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce to add some kick to your fish cakes.
Once everything has been combined it is time to add the self-raising flour. I haven’t given a specific quantity, as you simply need to add flour steadily and work into the mixture until you achieve a ‘cake consistency’. The batter should become sticky and doughy and it should become possible to create small sticky balls ready to deep fry.
Heat the oil in a pan or wok and when hot enough for the batter to rise to the surface, drop in the individual balls of dough and fry, turning occasionally, until they puff up and are golden brown.
Enjoy with a little marie rose sauce or some more Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce if you dare.