In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

My take on saltfish buljol.

saltfish buljolThough close to the real deal, this recipe is NOT how traditional saltfish buljol is made. My dad would tell us that his grandparents buljol was very simple.. shredded saltfish topped with hot oil. Sliced onions, hot peppers and tomato if you were lucky enough to have those things. In the Caribbean saltfish is “king”. Used on it’s own or as a flavour enhancer, it’s now found in many dishes up and down the Caribbean chain of islands. Gone are the days when saltfish was considered a “poor man’s” meal and ever since the decline of the cod population in eastern Canada, it’s become very expensive.

In my recipe I used salted Alaska pollock, but you’re free to use cod, hake or any other dried salted white fish you may have available to you. I would also recommend that you get the boneless variety to avoid having to remove the tiny bones when preparing this dish.

You’ll need…

1/4 lb dried saltfish
1/2 medium onion sliced very thin
1 medium tomato cubed
1 clove garlic chopped very small
1/4 cup green bell pepper cubed
1 green onion (scallion) chopped thin
dash of black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place the salted fish in a deep bowl and boil enough water to completely cover it. After the water reaches boiling point (I use our electric kettle) pour it over the fish and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes or until it’s cool enough to work with. This water will help remove most of the “salt” that was used to cure the fish, or you’ll be stuck with a very salty dish. Not only does the hot water help remove the excess salt, it also makes the fish a bit tender and easier to shred.

Drain and rinse with tap water, then shred the fish into tiny bits. Try and squeeze out any remaining water that it may still have as best as possible.

saltfish with onions

how to cook saltfish

salted cod recipe

Now slice, dice and chop the pepper, onion, tomato, scallion and garlic and add to the bowl with the shredded saltfish. Give it a good dose of fresh cracked black pepper and mix. Finally, heat the olive oil in a frying an and just before it starts to smoke, pour the heated olive oil onto the everything in the bowl. Mix thoroughly and serve.

ingredients for saltfish buljol

saltfish buljol recipe

saltfish choka

fish recipe

trini saltfish buljol

saltfish buljol trinidad

salted cod

Saltfish buljol can be served with ground provisions, rice and dhal, stuffed into fry bake, on sandwiches and as a topping for crackers. Add a bit more tomato, green and red bell peppers and toss in some shredded cabbage and you’ll have a great salad.

Did you know?

Saltfish and the dishes made from it are known by many different names, for example baccalà (Italian), bacalhau (Portuguese), bacalao (Spanish), bacallà (Catalan), morue (French), klippfisk/clipfish (Scandinavian), saltfiskur (Icelandic), bakalar (Croatian), and buljol (Caribbean).

Please leave me your comments below.

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  1. Gabrielle
    December 5, 2022 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for this recipe. I kept finding ones that cooked the vegetables in the oil and I know the buljol from my Trini childhood wasn’t that consistency.
    I think Jamaicans cook their buljol down like when making ackee and saltfish. Comes out with a similar flavor but different texture.
    I prefer your recipe.

  2. Rasta
    May 9, 2014 / 6:35 am


  3. Dreevay
    January 14, 2014 / 7:01 pm

    Good….Now add some avacados

    • Julie Dictter
      October 3, 2015 / 3:25 pm

      Yes, love avocados, great for this recipe.

  4. jah haitian
    September 11, 2013 / 5:37 pm

    I LOVE!!! saltfish, In Haiti we make a sauce of the fish and eat it with rice taste so good with lime but then again what food doesn’t lol, Anyways I love the site i’m always able to find a gem from my lovely Islands peace and love people.

  5. shelia
    October 22, 2012 / 8:51 am

    The Buljol recipe——finger licking GOOD!

  6. sonia
    September 26, 2012 / 8:37 pm

    from Barbados in the West Indies, my family normally does it on Friday nights or Saturday lunch. I came looking for a quick pepper sauce recipe but I found lots more . thanks, keep up the good work

    • Lorna
      February 27, 2014 / 1:27 pm

      I love bulfol. I also use the same recipe with boiled cassava and fry them up together. Great!!!

  7. noel
    April 15, 2012 / 5:12 am

    This is NOT VEGETARIAN fish! It is a pescatarian recipe. Fish are NOT vegetables they belong to the category animal. At best they are Aquarian.

    • Hema
      November 11, 2014 / 6:25 pm

      Yup, I agree with Noel. Fish is pescatarian not vegetarian. 🙂

  8. Maria
    September 23, 2011 / 12:49 pm

    OMG!…i know this recipe ( italian baccala) and I havent had it in eons. Love the island touches I could add to it to make it familiar to both myself and my san fernando man.

    Perfect. It is Friday so fish it is. Thx Chris.

  9. Naida
    March 18, 2011 / 7:47 am

    Hey Chris I make this the same only I put some vinager and cilantro and some hot pepers. delicious.

  10. kathy
    October 25, 2010 / 6:36 pm

    i grew up on this dish in our family it is a traditional christmas morning breakfast with a pastel on the side….thank you so much for the boiling water trick to get the salt out i have been letting it soak overnight

  11. Bee
    September 17, 2010 / 1:56 pm

    I finally got around and put this together from my husband and I. I must say it was a light & tasty dish. easy recipe to follow =)

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:48 pm

      glad to know you like it.

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:48 pm

      do let me know how it turns out for you.

  12. Angela
    September 25, 2009 / 3:30 pm

    This how I like my saltfish prepared with the veggies still a little crisp. But in Jamaica we don’t call it buljol… we called it stewed saltfish or cook up saltfish.

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:47 pm

      thanks for sharing the name.

  13. gorachael
    August 25, 2009 / 3:24 pm

    this is the way i love my buljol 😀
    and i like the vegies to be stil a bit firm not totally cooked till it’s soft

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:47 pm

      ent.. there's no better way.

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