NO visit to Trinidad for Carnival would be considered complete unless you’ve tasted our world famous Maracas shark and bake and even sampled one of our roadside vendors version of hot fish pies.
The special condiment that brings these two authentic Trini dishes alive? Our 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, then you can make them in the privacy of your own home and savour each delectable morsel. Enjoy a happy and safe Carnival season.
Maracas shark and float
1 lb shark fillets
Juice of one lime
1 tsp ground chives
1 tbs minced chadon beni
2 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
flour to dredge fish
oil to fry fish
Wash shark in flour, cut into 4-oz portions, season with herbs garlic and lime juice.
Marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in frying pan, dredge fish in flour and fry until golden.
4 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs shortening
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine flour with salt, sugar and shortening. Rub in shortening until mixture resembled fine crumbs; add enough warm 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
Salt to taste
½ cup olive oil
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
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
½ cup finely chopped mixed herbs, (parsley, thyme, chadon beni, chives)
1 large potato, peeled, boiled and crushed
2 large cloves garlic, minced
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
½ tsp salt
4 tbs shortening
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, and 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, and 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.
Crispy fried channa
1 lb dried chickpeas
1 750ml bottle vegetable oil
1 tsp each minced pepper, salt and chadon beni mixed together
The night before soak the channa in lots of water.
Next morning drain channa and dry on a towel.
Heat oil in a large deep pot, or a wok.
Add channa and fry on medium heat until golden and crisp and cooked.
Remove and drain on lots of brown paper or paper towels.
Then sprinkle with pepper and salt mixture.
Makes about one 750ml bottle filled
1 lb raw peanuts shells on
Simply wash peanuts and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Spread in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake 350F or about 20 to 30 minutes turning with a spoon every 10 minutes. When you smell your nuts and the shell comes off easily they are cooked.