Categorized | Bits and Bites, Vegetarian

A rustic fry bake recipe.

trinidad fry bakeLast week while briefly helping my sister in the kitchen at the King and Queen of Caribana event, I saw how easy it was for my mom to make up batches of fry bake to stuff with saltfish and/or shark. She made it seem so effortless I was convinced that I could easily master this. The “one” problem though.. I can’t knead flour. Then I remember that when the girls and I make pizza we would get the dough already premade from the grocery store. Could this pizza dough work?

Typical fry bake does not contain yeast , but pizza dough does have this active ingredient. Don’t be alarmed though, the pizza dough gives it the normal crispy/crunchy outside but I find with the yeast the inside is much more fluffy and the dough itself is very easy to work with.

Fry bake is very similar to fry roti and the only difference I could see between the two is the shape. When my mom would make fry roti she would use the rolling pin to make a huge circle, then cut that circle in 4 wedges (like how you would slice pizza) and deep fry it the very same way as you would fry bake.  Same thing, different names!

Note: We all know the warnings about eating too much fried foods, so try to use an oil that’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats.

You’ll need…

1 package of pizza dough (I think it’s about 1 lb)
Vegetable oil for frying (about 3-4 cups)
flour for dusting

If you’re making the dough from scratch you’ll need…

4 cups flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
* (Knead and allow to rest for about 30 minutes at least)

Using the pre-made pizza dough, remove from the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature. Then open from package and divide into tennis ball size dough balls. Dust your counter, hands and rolling pin with flour so the dough does not cling or stick while working with it.

fry bake dough

trini fry bake

dough for fry bake

fry bake for shark

Since 3 is more than enough for me I put the remaining dough in a freezer ziplock bag and into the freezer it goes for the next time I feel like having some fry bake. The next step is to put the oil to heat in a frying pan and start making the dough balls into the required circle shape. Using the rolling pin (remember to dust with flour) work back and forth, flipping to the other side until you form a circle about 6 inches in diameter.

fry bake trini style

fry bake

cooking fry roti

When the oil is heated place the dough you just worked into a circle. Remember to place it in the hot oil in an action so it’s away from you to prevent getting burned with the hot oil. As soon as you place it in the hot oil (within a few seconds), using a fork try to flip it to the other side in a quick motion. I was told that this helps it get that even surface and allows it to swell so you have that pocket that you can stuff. Continue flipping every 30 seconds or so until it’s swollen and gets to a nice golden brown colour. Remove from the oil at this point and place on paper towels to get rid of some of the excess oil used in frying. Repeat these steps for the remaining dough you have.

how to cook fry bake

making fry bake for saltfish

trinidad fry bake recipe

fry bake for saltfish

fry roti recipe

trinidad fry bake

Serve hot so your guests will get that crunchy exterior that’s so wonderful. To stuff, all you have to do cut it open as you would slice a bagel and stuff with whatever you feel like having. Typically it would be stuffed with saltfish buljol and/or deep fried tidbits of battered shark meat and topped with coleslaw, slices of tomato, cucumber and some sort of hot sauce and/or garlic mayo.

If you ever visit Maracas Bay beach in Trinidad you must try the bake and shark at Richard’s.. this joint is so popular with locals and tourists alike, it was even featured on Andrew Zimmern show, Bizzare Foods. Andy also listed it as one of the top 10 food he’s ever had.

Besides being something you can stuff, fry bake is our version of bread at breakfast and can also be used to eat with stews and curries. We’d just rip a piece and dip it into the wonderful gravies from curry and stewed dishes as I’ve featured here in the past.

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54 Responses to “A rustic fry bake recipe.”

  1. Trish says:

    I never thought of using pizza dough; definitely something for me to try since my fry bake comes out like hockey pucks when I do it from scratch. I will let u know the outcome.

  2. Judy says:

    Happy New Year Christ.
    Roti, bread, bake etc. is in the kneeding
    & the required amount of ingredients, its a skill
    U have 2 acquire..Thanks 4 the info on pizza
    Dough, tried 2 many times. Thanks Chris
    Judy

  3. Shirmel says:

    No need to use pizza dough, try this:

    3 cups whole wheat flour – sifted – King Arthur’s flour is the best
    3 teaspoons baking powder – sift into whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tbs butter – rubbed into flour and baking powder mixture
    3 cups freshly grated coconut – if desired – add to flour and baking powder after butter is rubbed in.
    1 3/4 cup warm water – tepid.

    Use a whisk to whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together for at least 30-45 seconds

    Spoon water into flour mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon. The mixture will start coming together. once the dough is together, but not too wet, cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes roll out and fry as desired or bake in the over at 350 for 30 minutes.
    The dough should be soft and easy to work with.

  4. K J says:

    Chris, do u by chance know where in Trindad u can actually get premade dough? I can’t kneed flour and everytime I try my fry bakes come out super heavy.

  5. Hylton Fernandes says:

    Chris, I normally make Bakes from scratch but I am now hooked on the Pizza dough.It is less labour intensive and messy and it is much easier to work with, with great results! I make a side dish of Salted Cod choka and my grand kids couldn’t get enough of it. Thanks Chris, great recipe!
    Hylton

  6. Giselle says:

    Every time I make bake the middle is empty. Can you think of what I could b doing wrong, and why I’m not achieving fluffy bake.

    • dahlia ambrosine says:

      Hi Giselle,

      I am also a Chef. I’d like to attempt to help U correct your problem. Firstly, is the dough scratch made by U? If so, then normally, the dry ingredients should consist of 2 leveled tsps baking powder to each cup of flour,(best used..AP flour), some cooking fat/medium, e.g. butter, ghee, etc., salt to your taste and luck warm water. Make sure that your dough is soft after kneading. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes, covered. If dough is store bought or frozen, let thaw to room temperature, every thing to room temp, then form in balls, cover with clean, moist kitchen towel, plastic wrap or moist paper towels while making the balls and rolling out the dough. When rolling out, lightly sprinkle flour on the rolling surface to avoid the dough/pastry from sticking to the surface. May sure you roll each ball as thinly as possible. Also make sure that the liquid frying medium, oil, Crisco, or ghee is enough to cover the rolled out dough and that your frying medium is hot but not too hot to burn the pastry. First time, fry one @ a time to make sure that U have the right temperature. If the medium is @ the correct temp, the dough should begin to puff shortly after submersion. If it does, turn the pastry immediately and U may want to turn the pastry once more before removing it from the pan. Drain on paper towels. Do not let pastry brown too much. You may want to experiment with a thermometer to see where the medium’s temperature is on it when your pastry is frying. Purchase a pastry or frying thermometer from the grocery, hardware, department, or pastry/cooking store, one with a clip on the side to attach it to the pan/pot. In this case, U will have to fry in a dutch oven or a pan with tall sides to hold the thermometer clip making sure that the ball at the end of the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan used for frying and that the ball is always submerged in the medium. If medium gets low after some frying, add more and wait for the temp to increase. Adjust the flame according to where the thermometer reading is good for you once U have decided what temp works best. When beginning to fry and U already know the temp U need, add the medium to the pan while pan and medium are @ room temp, adhere the thermometer to the side of pan, adjust the flame to maintain the temp you need before U begin to fry. If the pastry was rolled too thinly, it may crisp too fast, then, roll out a little thicker or reduce the temp. Then also, U may prefer your pastry thicker for stuffing. Just experiment with small portions of pastry dough for size, thickness, colour and temp that will work best for U.

      Two points: the appropriate quantity of the leavening agent, that is, the baking powder and 2ndly, the temperature of the frying medium. If any problems after this, my e-mail: redpeak2@gmail.com.
      Happy cooking!

  7. Faye says:

    Thanks Chris. This remind me of the native American Indian fry bread we make for our Indian tacos. I have to send you my recipe and pictures

  8. Angela says:

    Hi Chris:

    I followed your method of frying and it was the first time that I got my bakes to puff up. Thanks again.

  9. Clare says:

    Pizza dough, really? Definitely want to give this a try. I have been looking for an easy way of making bakes that I really like. Thanks for all the tips Chris

  10. Debbie says:

    Wonderful recipe

  11. Debbie says:

    Thank you Chris for this truly wonderful fry bake recipe. I have tried making fried bakes over the years, couldn't get it right until now Thanks again.

  12. Selina says:

    Yay! My roommate calls Roti the 'Cool Bread'. So I'm going to blow her mind tonight! Thanks Chris!

  13. texas girl says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe. My boyfriend and I were just talking about this and his mom makes them w/ this cod fish stuff she is from the islands and we love it. Now I am gonna have to try this to surprise him. I can’t wait!!! Thanks so much!

  14. Kheera Hilton says:

    Thanks Chris. will try this recipe this weekend!

  15. Marcia says:

    I make these all the time frm scratch and i use SR (self raising )flour, milk an a little sugar. I am frm London with Jamaican parents. Luv ur site.

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