Bajan Fish Cakes


The snack that links this international love story


Lauren & Christopher

When Lauren took a trip to Barbados, she downloaded Tinder as a way to meet locals in the country. She didn’t expect to find her future husband.

She immediately connected with Christopher. On the last day of Lauren’s trip, Christopher brought her fish cakes to snack on her ride to the airport.

“It was kind of like Chris gave me a piece of his own culture,” Lauren remembers.

Their relationship survived years of long distance as they traveled back-and-forth to visit each other, until Christopher finally moved to Lauren’s hometown of Vancouver, Canada. The recipe for fish cakes came with him.

Years later, the couple is now married with two children. Their love of fish cakes has passed on to their youngest son, Mars.

“He loves fish cakes, so I said he’s like our fish cake baby because he came from the fish cakes,” Lauren joked.

Bajan fish cakes are similar to other forms of codfish fritters, such as Portugal’s pastéis de bacalhau, made of salted cod, potatoes, onion, and herbs, which are then battered and fried.

Barbadian cuisine is a mixture of all the cultures and communities that touched the island, from the original Indigenous populations, to the Portuguese settlers, to the enslaved Africans who were brought to work on plantations.

While cod fish cakes may have originally been inspired by Portugal’s pastéis de bacalhau, these have their own Bajan twist, using a unique blend of herbs and spices, and are often accompanied with a Bajan pepper sauce.

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Bajan Fish Cakes


  • 1 lb deboned salted cod
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper finely diced
  • 2 green onions finely sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme remove leaves from stem and discard stems
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 potatoes boiled and mashed
  • 6 cups oil for frying
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Fill a large pot with cold water and place your salted cod inside water. Turn the stove onto high and bring the pot to a boil. Once the water is boiling, take the pot off heat and strain. Discard the liquid and set the cod aside to cool. Once the cod is cool enough to handle, shred it.
  • In a large mixing bowl add shredded salted cod, herbs (parsley, chives, green onions, thyme), onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, mashed potatoes and water. Stir ingredients till everything is well mixed.
  • In a separate bowl mix flour and baking powder.
  • Add bowl with dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until well combined. You are aiming for a wet mixture that you will spoon into the oil.
  • In a pan suitable for frying, heat 6 cups of oil at medium to medium high. Once your oil is hot scoop spoons of your fish cake batter into hot oil and cook until golden brown on each side. Flipping them throughout the cooking process.
  • Once golden brown, remove fish cakes from oil, place on a paper towel to remove excess oil, and enjoy!
Course: Snack
Region: North America
Keyword: Party Food


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