Salt cod fritters are Caribbean delicacies that I have been eating forever. My love affair with accras, so to speak, started when I was very young and my mother would make us accras during snack time. My mother, who was introduced to Caribbean food by Antillean friends when she was studying in France, had the full collection of a very popular cooking encyclopedia dedicated to Caribbean cuisine called Les Délices de la Cuisine Créole.
In the book, there was the recipe of accras de morue (or salt cod fritters) that my mother constantly made for us. It’s basically a comforting dish for me because it brings so many good and happy childhood memories. And every time, my mother made this dish, my siblings and I would jump on it and eat the big batch of fritters she made within minutes because they weren’t just delicious but also addictive when you were savouring them. Even if my recipe isn’t as similar as my mother’s, I still find them addictive to eat, so it’s a good sign.
If you plan to have guests and to entertain them, salt cod fritters make good appetizers with an exotic touch. As a warning, you should know that it’s very spicy since the hot peppers typically used are the very spicy scotch bonnets. So I will advise you to remove the seed if you don’t tolerate a very high level of heat. Or if you are just too intolerant to scotch bonnets, with or without the seeds, you can always choose to use more mild peppers to make your accras.
Prep: 20 min Cook: 15 min 8 Servings
300 g of salt Cod
1 cup of All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of Baking powder
175 ml of Water (for the dough)
1 onion, finely minced
4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Ginger, grated
3 sprigs of Thyme
2 Bay leaves
¼ cup of Parsley, finely chopped
1 Scotch bonnet (hot pepper), finely chopped without the seed if necessary
1 tablespoon of Chives, finely chopped
Overnight, in a bowl, soak salt cod in cold water in order to desalinate the fish. Make sure to change water as often as you can. If you can’t soak the fish overnight, it’s possible to let it soak for 8-10 hours before cooking it. The soaking time is very important because if you skip this step, the fish will be too salty.
When the soaking time is up, it’s time to poach the fish. In a sauce pan, bring water, with thyme and bay leaves, to a boil then add the fish. Cover and let simmer for 10 min. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat but don’t uncovered and let the fish continue to poach for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the fish and transfer it in a bowl. With a fork or with a hand blender, mash salt cod then set aside for later. (I personally use the hand blender because it saves time)
In a mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder and eggs. Whisk before adding little by little about 175 ml of water. Make sure to whisk vigorously in order to eliminate any lumps of flour.
Then add garlic, ginger, onion, scotch bonnet, chive and parsley. Mix everything. Add the fish previously mashed to the fritter dough and mix.
In a frying pan or a large wok, heat oil until the oil reaches 350 °F. With two teaspoons — one to scoop the batter and the other to scrape it into the oil — drop the fritters in the frying pan. Make sure to not overcrowd the pan, with the size of my pan, I fried 8 fritters per batch.
Fry the fritters on each side until they turn perfectly golden brown.
With a spider skimmer remove the fritters from the oil and let them rest on a paper towel in order to remove the excess oil. Repeat the same process until you are left with no batter in your bowl.
Serve with any dipping sauce of your choice. Accras are best served warm.
Instead of water, some people like to poach salt cod with milk. I never tried that method but I have heard, from people I know, many positive feedbacks about that method.
Also it’s important to add no salt to the fritter batter because even after soaking salt cod in water for hours, the fish still remains a little bit salty so you don’t have add any type of salt to the dish.