In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

My Grandmother’s Fish Choka.

Following up on the Fry Dry Herrings recipe I shared yesterday, here’s my take on my grandma’s Fish Choka. Basically any fried, oven roasted or grilled fish, flaked and made into a sort of salad (best way I can describe it). Light, tasty and very simple to put together. While the recipe isn’t exact, the technique is very true to the traditional way of making Fish Choka in Trinidad and Tobago. A ‘poor mans’ dish, usually made from fish the fishermen would practically give away (back in the old days).

You’ll Need…


1 lb fried fish (any will work)
1 medium onion (sliced thin)
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tomato (diced)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lime (juice)
1 birds eye pepper (chopped finely)
2 scallions (chopped)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon pepper oil (optional)

Strip fish meat off the bones into flakes, ensuring you remove all the bones and discard. If using fried herring or sardines with a batter you have the option of keeping the crispy skin or not.

With the flaked fish in a large bowl, add the black pepper, salt, juice of lime, tomato, bird’s eye pepper (optional), scallion, parsley and pepper oil. Being a bit gentle, toss everything to mix evenly. As mentioned in the video below, my grandma would typically use a clove of crushed garlic in the mix, but my pepper oil got a lot of garlic in it.

Top with the thinly sliced onion. I used a red onion, but you’re free to use any onion you have on hand or like using.. the key is to slice it very thin.

Heat the olive oil until you start seeing smoke. You my use coconut. vegetable or any oil you like using.

Pour the heated oil directly over the onions. This will slightly cook then and in the process, add a lovely onion flavor to the dish and kill some of it’s pungency.

Stir well and ENJOY

While my dad enjoys this as a topping for salted crackers, I’m a fan of Dhal and Rice served with this Fish Choka. The odd times I make sandwiches with it and when I’m not lazy I make fresh Sada Roti.

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1 Comment

  1. Mervene
    May 10, 2020 / 7:16 am

    I love what we call in Tobago fried Jacks. I remember us waiting on the seashore for the fishermen to blow the conch shell that they were pulling in there net Lord knows that was hard work cleaning those tiny fish but when it was fried wit a good coconut roast bake from that Tobago clay oven. Lord know that was heaven. My Tobagonian Indian mom knows she could cook lord how I miss her

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