This post has a printable recipe here
Today is an extra special day- it’s my father’s birthday!
Happy Birthday to a wonderful father and an inspirational mentor!
I decided to make him a very special treat today- one of his favorites- saltfish accras. My sibling hosted a decadent breakfast spread for him- eggs, bacon, sausages, homemade waffles and homemade hash-browns; I provided the accras as a little addition to all of the deliciousness!
Accras are the Caribbean’s answer to crab fritters; traditionally made from saltfish (salted pollock/cod) these golden brown, salty gems have earned their well deserved reputation of being delectable treats all across the Caribbean. I’ve had them and heard of them on different islands- many times by different names like saltfish patties and fish cakes- but what unifies them no matter the island is their great, unmistakable flavor.
These are by far one of my most favorite foods from the Caribbean region- fried golden parcels of savory richness- perfect as an accompaniment to any breakfast/brunch or as a standalone appetizer with a variety of dips. These saltfish accras can also be served as an alternative to a fish burger- fry bake providing the best ‘bread’ for these tasty treats- topped with a selection of condiments.
Today’s version of accra included shrimp- a wonderful, textural addition to any accra. Conventionally accras are made using saltfish, but many have perfected shrimp accras, (unsalted) fish accras and any other seafood combination. Unfortunately, I don’t know the history of accras and why they are traditionally made with saltfish (if anyone reading this knows the history of accras please do not hesitate to post it in the comments below!) but I can imagine Trinidad in the older days, friends liming and looking for something to nibble. I picture one friend offering to whip up something quick and having the cured saltfish on hand, some seasonings and flour and thus was born ‘the accra’. I like doing this- imagining the better, old days.
boil saltfish in water for about 10 minutes to remove excess salt (alternatively you can soak the saltfish in cold/ice water over night in the fridge and hence omit boiling)
when finished drain and cool
shred saltfish until it becomes flaky for batter
clean shrimp and cut each into 4-5 medium-sized pieces
chop chives, pimentos, pepper, garlic & chadon beni
in a large mixing bowl- add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix
add in shrimp, shredded saltfish and other ingredients to this dry mixture
pour in warm water slowly while turning slowly and gently- this aerates the mixture
batter should be quite fluid (see photos)
leave to rest for about 10 minutes
heat vegetable oil in thick bottomed pot on high heat
scoop batter into spoon (~1 1/2 tbsp per accra) and drop into hot oil and quickly reduce heat to medium-low
turn when golden brown and fry on other side
remove from oil, drain and place on paper towels
garnish with chopped chives/parsley