To all yuh Trinis out there, I apologize in advance for what you are about to see.
Bakes. The Naparima Girls High School Cookbook also calls them “floats,” which is a more descriptive name than “bakes” since they’re fried. And when they puff up (quite spectacularly) in the oil they do indeed float.
Wednesday was Jonathan’s birthday so he got to choose what was for dinner. Karen gave him some choices and he chose fish. When the kids say “Yay! Fish!” in our house it means one thing: Bake and shark. But we don’t have shark available here usually so we use catfish or (even better) tilapia.
Question to the Trinis. About a month ago I actually saw mako shark steaks at the local butcher / fishmonger. I thought this meal was prepared with fillets since they’re fried and they’re so thin. But Karen said the steaks would work. My inner Trini is coming out so I don’t trust her. What do you think?
Back to my point. Karen worked 9-5 on Wednesday so I decided to make the Bake & Shark. Karen has her own recipe for bakes but I couldn’t find it so I looked in the Naparima cookbook. It looked easy enough. I added the flour, salt, baking powder, and a little bit of the water and started mixing it with a spoon. Horrified, Aliyah took over. Apparently you’re supposed to use your hands when mixing bread dough. Who knew? Aliyah kneaded the dough and shaped the bakes while I seasoned the fish.
Unrelated side note: The Naparima cookbook has a recipe for green seasoning and it makes a cup. Does anyone make a cup of green seasoning at a time? I thought people made 5 gallons at a time to give to everyone in your family. But I don’t know for sure because Karen’s green seasoning comes from a good friend of her mother.
So I’m supposed to fry the bakes and the fish at the same time, and I’m as good at multitasking as I am with substituting ingredients in recipes. Aliyah made the first few bakes really small because she knew I’d need a few to ruin before I got it right. Those things went from white and raw to black and burned in about 15 seconds. “You’d better turn them now” she says. Oh well.
Most of the bakes turned out okay, but Karen didn’t say anything about the fish. I assume that means they were seasoned properly, but I’m afraid to ask. I did burn myself while turning one of the fillets. I then overcooked it and then dropped it on the floor when I was taking it out of the skillet.
Bake & Shark
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups water (approx.)
Oil for frying
Sift flour, salt, and baking powder
Add enough water to make a soft dough.
Knead for about 10 minutes and leave to rest for a half hour
Cut in pieces and roll each to a 5″-6″ diameter
Fry in hot oil until brown, turning once.
Shark (or whatever):
1 lb. tilapia or catfish fillets
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. green seasoning
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour seasoned with garlic salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Wash the fish with water and season well with the lime juice, green seasoning, and salt; leave to marinate.
Coat the fish in seasoned flour and fry a few pieces at a time in hot oil.