tastily touring: visiting barbados with a salted cod fish cake recipe

tastily touring: visiting barbados with a salted cod fish cake recipe

Having researched a few Caribbean Islands since we began Tastily Touring (previously Worldly Wednesday) we have discovered that the Arawak Indians were the original inhabitants of many Caribbean Islands. Around 1200 the Caribs, coming from Venezuela, conquered the Arawak population on the island of Barbados. By the 1500’s the island of Barbados would be uninhabited due to frequent slave trading raids led by the Spanish. The Caribs were either taken as slaves or fled to other islands.

The island of Barbados is located most easterly of the Caribbean Island chain, northeast of Venezuela. Barbados gets its name from the Portuguese as they sailed to Brazil. Los Barbados, or bearded-ones, was chosen by the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos. The island had many fig trees, which had a beard-like appearance.

Despite the frequent visits by the Spanish, Barbados was first settled by the British in 1627. On May 14th 1625 Captain John Powell landed on Barbados and claimed the uninhabited island for England. Two years later, on February 17th 1627, his brother Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and 10 slaves. The group established the island’s first European settlement, Jamestown.

The British settlers relied on cash crops such as cotton, then tobacco and finally sugar, being the most profitable under the large plantation/slave labor model. The slaves worked the sugar plantations until slavery was abolished in 1834. Barbados remained a British colony until it was granted autonomy in 1961 and full independence in 1966

When looking at Barbados culture, there are two very distinct influences; one is English and the other cultural influence is African from the days of the slave trade. The African influence is demonstrated in the music, dance and food of the island. The British influence is seen in the many churches, architecture, sports and food of the island.

The recipe we chose to represent Barbados is salted cod fish cakes. Salted cod has been eaten for hundreds of years in the Caribbean. During the period of slavery salted fish became a part of the slave’s diet. Today, salted cod fish is no longer inexpensive or easily available. However, it remains an important part of Bajan cuisine and salted cod fish cakes are readily available.

tastily touring: visiting barbados with a salted cod fish cake recipe

Salted Cod Fish Cakes (Traditional Bajan Recipes)

Ingredients

2 tbsp oil
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Salt to your taste
1 egg lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp shallots (finely chopped)
½ lb, salted cod fish, cooked and flaked
1 large fresh hot pepper such as a jalapeno (chopped)

Directions

1. In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are just wilted.
2. Place flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Make a well in center and pour egg, butter and milk.
3. Mix together lightly, and then add the onions, shallot, salted cod fish, salt and pepper.
4. Stir well. Drop by tablespoon full into hot oil, but do not crowd them in the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown on both sides.
5. Remove from pan and drain on absorbent paper. Serve very hot.

How to get this shot:
Photography Tip: use 100 ISO taking advantage of metering.
Svetlana Kolpakova
ApertureFNumber: f/5.6
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ExposureTime: 1/13
FNumber: 56/10
ExposureProgram: 1
ISOSpeedRatings: 100
MaxApertureValue: 3/1
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16
FocalLength: 100/1

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24 comments

  • February 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm //

    This would make a wonderful Lenten meal. I bookmarked it for later. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:56 am //

      Thank you Veronica, we hope you’ll try the recipe and let us know how it worked out for you. Thank you so much for commenting.

  • February 5, 2012 at 3:04 am //

    Just lovely, I love fishcakes and I want these now! A :)

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:56 am //

      Thank you Fire Foodie!

  • February 5, 2012 at 3:23 am //

    Your cod cakes look delicious, and I love your photos!

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:55 am //

      This is a really super recipe, thank you so much for commenting Gerlinde.

  • February 5, 2012 at 7:59 am //

    These look so delicious, the recipe we use is quite similar. I’m going to try yours :) Thank you. Your photography is beautiful.

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:55 am //

      Thank you Sydney, this is a really good recipe, hope you’ll give it a try and let us know how it worked out? Thank you so much for commenting.

  • February 5, 2012 at 8:28 am //

    Wow!! Love this recipe! And your pictures, incredible!

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:54 am //

      Thank you Katie, we hope you’ll give the recipe a try = )

  • February 5, 2012 at 9:26 am //

    Interesting content–the food history–and mouthwatering photos. Thanks for sharing how you achieved your shot. I think you used the “rule of thirds” very well too. The recipe is quite approachable and is just begging for me to give it a try!

    Cheers!

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:54 am //

      Thank you Alaiyo, composition is so important, this is by our guest photographer/post from Svetlana Kolpakova. Normally we use an Umbrella and soft box in low light, higher iso, I found that without natural light/ or a soft box, a higher iso of 800 or above the photo get’s grainy. We are thinking of switching to a brighter LED lights but they are still so expensive.

  • February 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm //

    As a West Indian (I’m from Barbados neighbor – St Vincent and the Grenadines), I feel so proud to read this post. I love how you told part of our history. And you’re right, saltfish remains a big part of Caribbean cuisine. I love saltfish cakes (as we call them) and I love stewed saltfish too! Your cakes look very delicious and beautiful. Wonderful job!

    • February 6, 2012 at 7:35 am //

      Hi Simply Tia, we are so happy you enjoyed the post so much. The cuisine is so fresh and inviting, it’s hard not to love it. Thank you for commenting.

  • February 6, 2012 at 12:24 am //

    Lovely photos. I am from Barbados and while I don’t use milk in my fish cakes. These do sound and look tasty. I have book marked so that I can try these.

    I generally serve my fish cakes with a mayo/ketchup/bajan peppersauce, dash of white pepper and a little mustard, stirred together as a dip!!!

    • February 6, 2012 at 7:37 am //

      Hi Charmaine, that dip sounds divine! Do you have the recipe for Bajan Pepper Sauce? It sounds delish. Thank you so much for commenting.

  • February 6, 2012 at 3:54 am //

    What a beautiful photo! Lovely recipe to go along with that :)

    • February 6, 2012 at 7:38 am //

      Thank you so much for commenting Amrita = )

  • February 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm //

    These remind me of the salted cod breakfasts my partner would make for, although the fish was always served flaked with peppers and tomatoes. I love the idea of serving it in a fishcake!

    • February 7, 2012 at 7:45 am //

      Your recipe sounds delicious too Paula, we would love the recipe?

  • February 7, 2012 at 7:31 am //

    Yum! I love fish cakes, but using salted fish is a great new to me twist. :) thank you for always introducing such wonderful dishes and cultures!

    • February 8, 2012 at 11:32 am //

      Thank you so much Kiri = )

  • February 11, 2012 at 8:25 am //

    i am wondering about cooking the cod before adding it to the other ingredients and then it is cooked again in the cakes / i am eager to try this / is there a reason for twice cooking the cod ? i have not cooked cod much

    new Cooks magazine shows a method of poaching fish in oil rather than water / just makes it better they say / would this be appropriate for this recipe ?

    thanks

    • February 12, 2012 at 8:25 am //

      Hi Katherine:

      Thank you so much for your interest in the recipe.

      1. Soak the salted cod in cold water for at least 24 hours changing water, then drain.

      2. Place the drained salt cod in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes; drain.

      3. Rinse the salted cod under cold water until cool enough to handle. Using your fingers break the salt cod into flakes, picking out and discarding any skin and bones. Then you can proceed to flake the cod and form a patty/ball. You could pan cook the fish first, although we have not tried that method with this recipe yet.

      Thank you for commenting.