Coconut bake and 'Buljol'
I think the first time I had buljol it was either with Crix crackers as a little snack/appetiser or with warm hops. Can’t quite remember but the buljol love started from then. What is buljol? Well it’s like a salted fish salsa — almost. It can be served warm as the recipe below describes or you can chop everything much finer and serve it cold as well (and serve it almost like a chip and salsa style) after the salted fish has cooled. I have had it both ways and I love it either way.
Buljol if you’re not West Indian sounds very weird as a word. I really don’t know what I thought it was when I heard that name for the first time. I definitely didn’t think it was salted fish. But apparently it comes from the French patois term ‘Brûlé Gueule’, which means burn mouth, likely due to the effect of it being prepared with a lot of hot peppers (scotch bonnet). This recipe adds some optionally. I like a little pepper in mine but I like to add it after because my husband doesn’t eat much pepper so please adjust it to taste.
This is a meal most popularly eaten for breakfast but I enjoy it anytime especially with some warm coconut bake or bread. There are many variations of coconut bake. This is a simple recipe I was given from a friend and it seems to come out the same every time so I like it. Just a heads up though it’s a denser bread. Not as fluffy in case you were wondering. It has a subtle sweetness to it and coconut flavour, and it’s a little buttery too. I can eat the bread with a little butter and jam and I love it with cheese and jam also. But its a perfect accompaniment to buljol! Hope you enjoy this simple Trini dish!!
Recipe for Buljol
- 12 oz salted cod
- 2-3 tomatoes chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1⁄4 cup of chadon beni (cilantro) chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1⁄4 cup of chive or green onion chopped
- 5-7 pimento peppers (or one small red sweet pepper) chopped
- 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of lime (or lemon juice)
- 2 tbsp of tomato ketchup or 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pepper sauce or piece of scotch bonnet pepper sliced
Rinse the salted fish and boil in water twice over to remove most of the salt. Drain all the water, allow to cool enough to handle and shred with hands or fork
In a medium pan heat oil at medium high and add and sauté onion, garlic, peppers, hot pepper if using, thyme, chive and chadon beni for a few minutes until softened
Add tomato ketchup or paste and sauté for about a min and then add the salted fish and stir and sauté for a few more minutes until it’s warmed through and everything is well incorporated.
Squeeze some lime over it and sprinkle with some more chadon beni and serve with a side of pepper sauce (optional)
Basic Coconut bake recipe
- 4 cups all purpose flour — plus more if needed
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup of grated coconut (fresh or desiccated)
- 4 tbsp cold butter
- 1-1 1⁄2 cups of coconut milk
Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk in the grated coconut
Cut the cold butter into the flour until it’s incorporated and looks like coarse meal (with fingers or place flour mixture and butter into food processor and process)
Slowly add in the coconut milk and kneed or process until dough is smooth
Place in a greased bowl and cover and let rest for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Once ready line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Remove dough and shape right on the baking sheet into a ball and roll out to a 1 inch flat disk
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until done and golden brown