Food from Trinidad and Tobago is hearty, spicy and full of flavour.
Food in particular from Trinidad and Tobago is a testament of the multicultural society that makes up the twin island state. It is a reflection of the adaptation of our fore-fathers to a new land and new ingredients.
Likewise, my culinary skills have grown, especially in the last couple of years
One grey and wet Sunday morning, we needed some Trinidadian comfort food. At home, Mum’s usual Sunday morning fare was Fried Bake and Tomato Choka. So on this day I made both, together with ‘Fry Aloo’ and Zaboca Choka a.k.a. Guacamole. Note the picture!
Needless to say there was not much left afterwards.
Please note that Fried Bake/Fried Roti, is loaded with calories and if your blood cholesterol is high…this should be eaten in moderation. For us it is an occasional treat. We probably only have it once every 2-3 months.
There are many variations to the recipe, of course the one quoted in the Naparima Girls’ Cookbook, is essentially fool proof. Bake is also seen at Maracas Bay served with fried shark and numerous condiments and salad garnishes. Of course the other caribbean islands have their versions as well
In an attempt to make it a bit healthier, here is my recipe:
2 cups whole meal flour
3/4 cup all purpose white flour
7gm instant yeast
1/2 tsp cooking salt
2 tbsp oat bran
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
1/4 medium onion grated
1-2 cups of water (more or less if needed)
1-1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Skillet/ no stick frying pan
1/2 cup flour for dusting
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Add grated onion and mix thoroughly
Slowly add the water and combine to make a dough that is soft but not sticky.
Let this ‘rest’ or prove for about 20-30 mins
In the frying pan/skillet, heat the oil on medium high
Knead for 2-3 mins and then divide into portions to make 5 inch diameter balls
Then on a floured surface roll out each ball into a circle or (close to it!)
The thickness should be about 4-5 mm
Then I cut the dough with the knife, making two horizontal cuts and two vertical cuts, effectively cutting the circle into 9 pieces.
What you are left with is a variety of pieces, squares, rectangles etc.
Of course it varies depending how big you want your individual bake to be, how you cut it!
Another option is to divide the dough into smaller portions, with the diameter of 2-2.5 inches and roll them out into smaller circular individual bakes
Then into the hot oil they go, one at a time.
Because it is a shallow fried, once the bake goes it, to help it rise/ swell, I ladle hot oil from the sides of the pan with the spoon onto the bake.
Turn over until golden brown on each side
Remove and drain onto paper towels and ENJOY!
This recipe will serve 3-4 people