Jamaican Fish and Vegetable Cakes

If anything good can be said to have come out of British imperialism surely Jamaican cuisine would be high on the list. The blending of African and Indian flavors and textures is absolutely sublime. To come up with this recipe I combined traditional West Indian codfish cakes with Jamaican vegetable fritters that resemble Indian pakora. I used haddock but any flaky white fish will do. You can make them small as snacks or, as I have here, as meal-sized cakes. Serve them with mayonnaise to which you have added some Jamaican curry powder.

Ingredients

 

Firm white fish

4 ounces

120 g

Cooking oil

1 tablespoon

30 ml

Carrot, shredded

1 medium

1 medium

Onion, finely chopped

1 medium

1 medium

Garlic, minced

3 cloves

3 cloves

Ginger, grated

1 tablespoon

30 ml

Jamaican curry powder

1 tablespoon

30 ml

Cayenne pepper

to taste

to taste

Eggs, lightly beaten

1 large

1 large

All purpose or rice flour*

1 cup

125 g

Water

as needed

as needed

Salt

to taste

to taste

Oil for frying

see Method

see Method

*Note: replace up to half the flour with chickpea (besan) flour for a taste more like pakora.

Method

Steam or microwave the fish until just done. Flake and set aside.

Heat the one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and sauté the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger until soft. Stir in the curry powder and cayenne, then the egg. Fold in the reserved fish. Mix in the flour, a bit at a time, to form a thick batter adding a bit of water if needed. Season with salt to taste. Wet your hands and form the mixture into patties of whatever size you prefer.

In a heavy cast iron skillet heat about ¼ inch (6 mm) of oil. When almost smoking add the patties and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve either hot or cold.

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