Monday, June 13, 2011

The Best Trinidad Bake and Saltfish

I was tempted to bite in before the picture!

Bake and saltfish along with doubles has got to be the quintessential Trinidadian breakfast, it is something that contains just a few ingredients but its just delightful and filling. Bake isn't actually baked its a type of fried dough usually made into a disc shape. Saltfish is salted cod that is boiled until most of the salt is removed, then is sauteed with different aromatics. Now that we have the descriptions out the way let me tell you that there are two types of fried bake that I have come across. There is the light bake that has the little pocket inside perfect for savory fillings and then the heavier thicker version which can fill your belly through a long days work. I'm partial to the first version but my mom likes the latter and that's the kind she likes to make. Since she likes the heavier version I had to experiment on my own and learn to make the light version with the coveted pocket in the center. Something this simple was no easy task for me, try after try I just wasn't getting what I wanted. All the recipes online were either to heavy and greasy or just did not resemble anything close to a fry bake...this was frustrating!! Just when I was getting ready to quit success came in the form of a golden, crispy, light fry bake! Now that I have the fry bake down I can go ahead getting my saltfish together, now saltfish I can make with my eyes closed! When I got my saltfish and this new bake together it was heaven. I just know I had to post this recipe and share it with the world.

1lb salted cod
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 pimento peppers, chopped
3 tbsp oil
1 small tomato chopped (optional)
black pepper or Trinidad Pepper Sauce to taste

- Boil codfish until salt level is tolerable to your taste, drain and set to the side.
- In saute pan heat oil over medium/high heat.
- When oil is hot add in onions, garlic, peppers, and saltfish. Saute together for 5 minutes.
- Add in tomato if using, black pepper/pepper sauce, and saute for 1 more minute.
- Turn off stove and place saltfish to the side.

Fried Bake
makes 6 

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
 1/8 tsp or a pinch instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp shortening
1 cup ice water
frying oil

- Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Rub in shortening to flour with your fingers or a pastry blender if you have one on hand.
- Add in water and knead until a soft ball is formed. 
- Cover with a cloth and let dough rest for 15 minutes
- After 15 minutes re-knead quickly and let the dough rest for an additional 15 minutes.
- While dough is resting fill a frying pan with oil and let it heat to 300 degrees.  
- Cut dough into 6 pieces and form into little balls.
- Dust each piece of dough in flour and use a rolling pin to shape the dough into a flat circle about 1/4 inch thick.
- Fry each piece of dough until golden on each side. Take care not to constantly flip the dough. Let it cook on one side and then flip only once to cook the other side.
- Drain fried bakes on paper towel and cool for 2 minutes. 
- Cut and fill with the saltfish or any other filling of your choosing.

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