NO visit to Trinidad for Carnival would be considered complete unless you’ve tasted the world famous Maracas "shark and bake" and even sampled one of the roadside vendors' version of hot fish pies. The special condiment that brings these two authentic Trini dishes alive? TT's chadon beni sauce or pesto as my version is called. But you don’t have to be a visitor to indulge in either of these finger-licking snacks, as they’re equally sought out by us Trinis as well.
If you’re longing for a shark and bake or fish pie this weekend, and don’t want to fight up with the crowds at your favourite vendor, then you can make them in the privacy of your own home and savour each delectable morsel! Further to that, you can give your Carnival visitors a real treat!
Maracas fish and float
Shark is not a sustainable fish, and it also contains quite a lot of ammonia, so I would suggest that you substitute fish in place of shark.
1 lb firm fish fillets
1 tsp ground chives
1 tbs minced chadon beni
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
flour to dredge fish
Coconut oil to fry fish
Juice of one lime
Wash fish in flour, cut into 4 oz portions, season with herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
Marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in frying pan, dredge fish in flour and fry until golden.
Squeeze on lime juice.
4 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs shortening
Coconut oil for frying
Combine flour with yeast, salt, sugar and shortening. Rub in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs; add enough water to make a soft dough.
Knead for five minutes, form into a smooth ball, cover and rest for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
Form dough into 8 balls. Let rise again for 15 minutes.
Flatten balls into 4-inch rounds.
Heat oil in a deep skillet and deep fry floats until they actually float to the top of the oil. Turn and fry until golden. Drain and serve hot
Chadon beni pesto
10 shadow beni leaves
2 large Spanish thyme leaves
juice of one large lime
6 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Puree all the ingredients; add the oil to make a thick emulsion.
Carnival fish pies
1 lb boneless fish fillets, steamed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup finely-chopped mixed herbs, (parsley, thyme, chadon beni, chives)
1 large potato, peeled, boiled and crushed
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Coconut oil for frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Flake fish and remove bones, add all other ingredients and mix well, taste and adjust seasoning.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs shortening or butter
Make the dough by combining flour, with baking powder, salt and shortening. Add water to make a soft but pliable and non- sticky dough.
Knead into a ball and let rest
Divide dough into 10 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Rest for 5 minutes.
Roll each piece of dough into a 5-inch circle, place about 1-2 tablespoons of the filling
Onto the lower portion of the circle, bring the upper portion over lower portion to cover in a half moon shape.
Seal and continue until all the dough and filling is used up.
Heat oil in a frying pan and shallow fry pies until golden brown.
Drain and serve with chadon beni pesto.
Makes 10 pies.