Fry Bake and Fish

It’s New Year’s Day. It’s cold and dreary outside. It’s my first winter outside of the Caribbean in 12 years and I’m missing Trinidad & Tobago. Pondering that while looking at my new deep fryer I bought myself for Christmas (thanks to a husband who believes I can buy better gifts than he can), I thought nothing would help solve that better than making some Fry Bake and Fish. If I can’t be at the beach, might as well enjoy my favorite beach food.

Now I must admit me and fry bake have a sometime’ish relationship. Sometimes they come out beautifully and sometimes they don’t puff up enough to escape my Trini husband’s criticism.  But say what … they always taste good.

Fry Bake Recipe* 
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine (optional)
  • 1 cup water (be prepared to add more if needed)
  • 2 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying the bakes

Instructions:

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Add butter and mix with a fork (or use your fingers) until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
  3. Make a hole in the center of the flour and add 3/4 cup water while mixing and stirring in a circular motion. Dough should begin to resemble really coarse crumbs.
  4. Add 1/4 cup more water and continue mixing gently for about 5 minutes until you form a smooth, soft dough.
  5. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour. If the dough is too dry after adding all the water, add another tablespoon or so of water and mix it until the dough is smooth and soft.
  6. Allow to rest for about 3-5 minutes, then dust with flour and knead to form a smoother dough.
  7. Rub some oil on top of dough and allow the dough to rest for 25 – 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap or a damp paper or kitchen towel.
  8. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces (depending on how large you want the bakes to be).
  9. Roll them into balls and place on a well-floured surface. Allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
  10. Flatten the balls of dough until they are about ¼ inch thick. You can use a rolling pin or your hands.
  11. Slowly add the dough to the heated oil in a deep pan or a deep fryer.
  12. Fry in hot oil until both sides are golden brown, about 30 – 45 seconds per side.
  13. Remove the fried bakes from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  14. Serve it warm with fried fish, salt fish, vegetables or anything you fancy. My kids prefer it sliced with cheese inside. Yum!

I put the bakes in a warm oven until I finished frying the fish.

My father brought back cases of halibut from a recent fishing trip in Alaska and we have been looking for all sorts of ways to prepare it. So I battered up some of that halibut to serve with the fry bake.  I cut the fillets into pieces small enough to fit inside a sliced fry bake and used the batter recipe below.

Fish batter
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Add milk and water slowly, then beat until batter is smooth.
  3. Dip fish or chicken into batter, allow excess to drip off.
  4. Deep fry until golden brown (I used a deep fryer set on the 320F temperature)

We sliced the bakes and placed a fried piece (or two) of fish inside. We added tomato, lettuce, garlic sauce, tamarind sauce (or chutney or whatever we had on hand) and pineapple chow made earlier that day (I said I was all about my favorite beach food today). And of course my Trini husband added pepper sauce.

Enjoy!

Fried Bake 

 

Acting on a not-so-subtle hint from my hubby, I whipped up my first batch of Fried Bake (or “Fry Bake”). I tried cookingwithria’s easy recipe and it was certainly simple and even fun to prepare with my three-year helper, Oliver.  I look forward to tweaking the recipe a bit to taste a little more like the fried scones I fell in love with in during my college days in Idaho and Utah.

We had a lovely breakfast with fried eggs and cheese packed inside the sliced bake. I got Adelaide’s vote of approval when she said “This is good good.”

Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar ( add a little more sugar if you want them a little sweeter)
Approximately 3/4 cup water
Oil (for frying bake)

Makes 8-10 Fried Bakes depending on the size. I made them smaller since I have small kids. 

Directions
1. In a large bowl, add flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Mix well. 
2. While gradually adding water, knead to make a soft, smooth dough.
3. Form into a large ball (or two) and cover with a wet paper towel. Let it rest for about 15-30 minutes. 
4. Divide dough into small balls. On a lightly-floured surface flatten (1/4 inch) using hands or rolling pin. 
5. Warm oil into a frying pan on medium heat.  
6. Fry the dough disks, turning once, until golden brown and puffed, about 30 seconds per side. 

Transfer the bakes to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon. 

Easy Banana Bread

I am sure I am not the only person who has the all-to-often “Gosh the bananas have ripened already?” problem. So … what to do? One common solution is banana bread. Everyone loves it, right? My sister Sarah included this recipe in the 2nd edition of the Borg Family Cookbook (seriously … one of the best ever) and it is exactly as the title claims: EASY. Not only is it quick and simple to put together but it always turns out wonderful. Ummmm … Maybe too much so because I think I ate half the loaf myself last night.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter your loaf pan (or use parchment paper which is my usual way). Bake for 1 hour.

(Note: My family likes the banana bread a little crusty so I usually bake it at 350 degrees until the top is hard.) 

Pumpkin Bread & Muffins

So it’s October and every year I make something pumpkin on October 1st just to celebrate the awesomeness of Autumn. Even though I am living in the Caribbean and it’s hot regardless of the time of year (I’m sweating even as I write this) I still practice this tradition.

The first time I had these pumpkin muffins I was visiting my cousin Wendy Gagnon and her family in Dusseldorf, Germany. I was immediately hooked! Now … fair warning that even though it has a vegetable in the title, this bread recipe isn’t all that healthy (I mean … it does have 3 cups of sugar) but you will fall in love with them.

Wendy added this recipe in the first annual Borg Family Cookbook with this commentary:
“This makes enough for a crowd or some to keep and some to sweeten someone else’s day. With this recipe I usually make one regular loaf tin of bread, one or two mini muffin pans and one regular size muffin pan. It really makes a lot. They are really yummy!”

Ingredients

3 1⁄2 cups flour
1 1⁄2 tesaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-15 ounce can pumpkin
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup oil
3⁄4 cup water

Directions

Sift flour, soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon together.
Add oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. Mix well.
Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes for a large loaf tin or 25 minutes for muffins.

STRAWBERRY CAKE MIX DONUTS a.k.a. “Pink Donuts”

I came across this easy donut recipe from onsugarmountain.com and instantly put it on deck to make with Adelaide. So … we did this Saturday when we finally had a lazy morning while Daddy was out golfing and Oliver was taking an amazing God-knew-I-needed-it long nap.

These donuts were super easy to make and really good. We ate them plain and then had to stop ourselves so we would have some to eat with frosting. I have a donut baking pan so that’s what I used but a mini donut maker would work fine, too.  You’ll also see my substitutions. Since I live in Tobago, I often don’t have all ingredients but I always find a workaround.

Adelaide calls these “Pink Donuts.”

  • 1 box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted with what I had: milk and a bit of vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp melted (and slightly cooled) butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat with electric hand mixer until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour donut batter into a ziploc bag, then cut the corner to pipe donut batter into your pan. I fill it a little less than half full to get a good donut shape (and it’s easier to come out of the pan).
  4. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on wire rack while you make the frosting

Glaze/frosting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp heavy cream (I substituted with what I had one hand: skim milk and a bit of cooled melted butter)
  1. Whisk together sugar and cream/milk until a thick glaze forms. You can adjust the amount of heavy cream to get the right consistency.
  2. Dip half of donut into frosting, then cover with sprinkles and let sit until dry.

Thanks to Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain