Salt Fish Fritters

December 16, 2009


Salt Fish Fritters

The Jamaican name for this dish, ‘Stamp ‘n Go’ is said to come from the behaviour of impatient, fritter-hungry customers who would stamp their feet for attention and then simply leave the shop if they didn’t get it. Leave without the fritters? Eh? There must be another part to that story; I’ve only eaten them once and I’m hooked. This is the kind of recipe you know you’re going to love but just never get around to making and then you kick yourself repeatedly once you do. Piping hot, fresh golden batter bombs explode with poofs of salty, spiced steam ready for the mighty plunge into bud-tingling chilli sauce.

With a big bag of fillets left over from the okazi soup and a trick up my sleeve for preparing it quickly, these were a doddle to knock up on a school night. I gave the fillets just two boils in fresh changes of water this time to keep a chewier texture and slightly more salt, before adding the flakes to a batter along with spring onions, chilli, garlic and parsley. Tablespoon by tablespoon they dropped into a skillet of shimmering oil, spreading out just enough before crisping quickly to ‘eat-me-now-dammit’ brown. Inside, the salt fish brings an insanely satisfying toothsome chew, surrounded by the fluffy flavour sponge of batter. We inhaled the lot in minutes and not many of them.

I took the simplest approach possible when it came to the sauce and lobbed a can of chopped tomatoes, about 5 regular red chillies, a few cloves of garlic, some salt, some vinegar and some sugar into a pot and cooked it down on the tame side of furiously for about 20 minutes, before half heartedly stabbing at it with a stick blender; it repaid me way too generously for my meagre efforts.

That said, as soon as the first fritter began its inevitable and rapid journey towards my belly, there was talk of spicy sweetcorn relish. I honestly cannot think of any better accompaniment; I kicked myself once more. In my future right now, I see fritters: great towering piles of steaming fritters accompanied by bowls, no, vats, of hot sweetcorn relish. I won’t hesitate to stamp until I get them.
Salt Fish Fritters

350g salt fish fillets, boiled in two changes of water for five minutes each time and then flaked (removing skin and bones)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
3 spring onions, white and green parts finely chopped
1/2 – 1 scotch bonnet chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (to be honest, I’m not sure I actually used this in the end so it’s up to you)
A small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
115g plain flour
2 eggs
120ml milk
Groundnut oil, for frying

Soften the spring onions, onion, garlic  and chilli in a little oil until soft but not coloured. Add to a bowl with the salt fish and parsley. Beat the flour, milk and eggs together in a separate bowl until smooth then combine with the fish mixture. Season with black pepper (no salt).

Heat a 2cm depth groundnut oil in a skillet or frying pan and drop tablespoons of batter in, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.

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    Reply Lizzie December 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Mmm salt fish! Sounds and looks great. On first glance I would have thought there was a bit of tumeric to give them that lovely colour.

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    Reply Sharmila December 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    These look great, and now you’ve revealed you can just boil them twice rather than soaking them for ages with changes of water (or in a toilet cistern, as I’ve worryingly read about before!), I feel much more inclined to make them!

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    Reply Oysterculture December 16, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I’m stamp and go to try these fritters, they sound like heaven. Unfortunately, I’m in the midst of moving so no kitchen to work in. Thanks for sharing.

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    Reply ginandcrumpets December 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Take 2 hours to make a meal? Not me, I just Stamp ‘n Go.

    I’ve had the phrase in my head since I read this and I’m hoping that by writing it down it will go away. The fritters look delicious and I’m a sucker for anything that can come with a salsa or relish.

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    Reply shayma December 17, 2009 at 1:47 am

    anything that comes w that chili sauce, i WANT. looks so so good, H.

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    Reply msmarmitelover December 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    that looks scrumptious…..

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    Reply Jonathan December 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    My favourite expression on a food blog for ages: “tame side of furiously”. I guess the more agreessive version would be the “wild side of furiosuly” which would involve getting the pan so hot that metal melts. But on the plus side the sauce reduces to a beautiful, intense burst of flavour.

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    Reply Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen December 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Wow, those look amazingly delicious!

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    Reply Helen December 18, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Lizzie- yeah I suppose it does look like that doesn’t it? Well the salt fish was a touch on the yellow side too which it can be quite often I’ve found. The rest comes from our good friend oil.

    Sharmila – Yeah it really takes the hassle out of preparing salt fish.

    Oysterculture – AAh well, at least you will have a nice new kitchen to make them in. I can highly recommend trying them. I’m not going back anyway.

    Ginandcrumpets – You need a career in advertising woman!

    Shayma – Thanks!

    Msmarmitelover – thanks. I’m not going to beat around the bush- they were pretty damn tasty. If only i had that sweetcorn relish…

    Jonathan – Ha ha, glad you like it. You are correct on your guess about the wild side of furiously, a very under used cooking method.

    Jenn – Cheers!

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    Reply Anonymouse March 3, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Looks good. I read it was the fire in the fritters, that made people stamp and go.
    I had an amazing Carabien cook book, gutted I no longer have it. I think that was where I read the story. Each recipe had a tale with it and the foods origin.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen March 4, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Oh no, gutted!

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