Ever since Andrew Zimmerman raved about the Bake and Shark sandwiches he gobbled down on Maracas beach in Trinidad a few years back, requests for this recipe were overwhelming at times. This prompted me to post a recipe where I cheated a bit and used pizza dough I found at a local grocery store: Rustic Fry Bake Recipe. I’m not a huge fan of kneading dough, which explains why I used pre-made dough. Today we’ll start off a three part series, where I’ll show you (with the help of my mom…and dad) how to make fried bakes from scratch, the fried shark for the sandwich filling and finally… the creamy coleslaw as the topping.
If you’re like me and intimidated by making dough.. “moms” will show us how simple it is and how easily we can be BEST at making fried bakes. BTW, these may also be known as fry roti, floats and fried dumplings.. very close to johnny cakes as well.
3 cups all-purpose flour *
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon yeast (instant)
1 cup water * (warm)
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
veg oil for frying
Notes: You can certainly use a combo of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour if you’d like… to make it a bit healthier? You may need a bit more water as the flour you’re using may be a bit different than the one I used..adjust accordingly. I ended up using 1 1/4 cups water.
In a large bowl place the flour, yeast, salt, margarine, shortening and baking powder. Use your hands to mix everything together.. break up the margarine and shortening. The flour will take on the consistency of peas. Now start adding the water and form into a smooth dough. Please make sure the water is luke warn to help the yeast activate. It will take about 5 minutes of kneading to form a smooth dough. You can always use your standing mixer or food processor if you wish.
Now cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap to make it air tight and place it in a warm corner of your kitchen. Allow it to ‘rest’ for about 45 minutes. (we dusted the top of the dough with some flour)
After 45 minutes, it’s time to work the dough into smaller dough balls. All you have to do is break the main dough ball into 5 equal sized smaller balls (like the size of a tennis ball). Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet (after you smooth them out) and cover with a kitchen towel to ‘rest’ further. All it takes is 15 minutes this time.
It’s now time to shape them into bake-like form and fry them. Set up a sort of station… the frying pan with the vegetable oil and a draining basket lined with paper towels.
Rub a little veg oil on your kitchen counter surface (we won’t be using a rolling pin) and place one of the dough balls.. rub some veg oil on your fingers and start to stretch the dough while pressing to form a 6 inch (diameter) circle. Work from the center out.
Heat about 2 cups of vegetable oil (any oil you like) on med/high and gently add the now formed bakes into the pot. Remember to place it away from your body, when adding it to the hot oil.
As soon as it hits the oil, be prepared to flip them over (my dad used a fork), this way you’ll have evenly fried and shaped fry bales. Allow them to cook for about 3 minutes, flipping them a couple times so each side cooks evenly. You can also spoon the hot oil on the exposed surface if you like.. not really necessary though. You’re looking for a crispy surface and a golden colour.
It’s then time to fish them out of the hot oil and place on the paper towels to drain off the extra oil. Repeat the steps until they are all fried.
See how easy this was? All you have to do now is slice them open and stuff with the fried shark, saltfish buljol or any of your favourite Caribbean dishes. I also like ripping these and eating with curry dishes..especially vegetarian ones.
Stay tuned for the other 2 parts in this bake and shark 3 part series.