Many years ago, when the girls were little, we used to go on holiday once a year with my in laws to various places in Europe for one of the half term holidays. They had a time share of sorts. One time we were waiting on our ferry in Calais, or it was delayed, I can’t remember, but we had to find somewhere for lunch. We decided upon a particular restaurant and on the menu were “Accra.” Well you know I had to order them to try and to see if they were what I know as accra. Would you believe they were?! The exact same shape and size and flavour. You see, there’s another example of our colonial history in these islands. Its obviously a dish we appropriated from the French.
My sister Danielle and I were reminiscing the other day about Joey who came to work for my mother at age 14 and looked after us “ti manmays”…(little children). Her mother used to have a stall at the yearly “assou square” which is a celebration here in St. Lucia on Jan 1st and 2nd where stalls of all sorts of food and drink are set up for party purposes. It used to be set up around the town square before it grew too big for the centre of town and was moved to a more spacious location. The skill at assou square was to locate the best accra, and often it was Joey’s mum’s stall. Not too hot, not too much oil, not too much batter. Just right.
I love accra, but didn’t make it or eat it since then really in the belief that it just wasn’t good enough for my temple. Some really aren’t. They’re mostly batter and oozing oil, but these little babies would make Joey’s mum proud.
Makes enough Salt Fish Cakes for 4 people as a main, 6 as a snack
300g (1.5 c) salted fish, rehydrated and salt removed
3 flat leaf thyme leaves finely chopped
1 green chilli finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 red sweet pepper finely chopped
3 seasoning peppers finely chopped
3 cloves garlic pressed
2 tsp baking powder
100g (1 c) coconut flour
100g (1 c) wholegrain spelt flour
500ml water (more if needed)
coconut oil for frying
Salt fish (lanmowi in Kweyol) used to be “poor man’s food.” It isn’t anymore. It comes heavily salted and dried out for the preserving, so you need to soak it and change the water 3 or 4 times to properly rehydrate it and to remove the salt. I’m able to buy the skinned and deboned version here in St. Lucia. If you aren’t as lucky, then you also need to render the salt fish “meat only.”
I used my food processor to bring all the ingredients together, but you could do this by hand. I have been a bit vague with the amount of water, because this is something you will have to work out once you start mixing. You just need to be able to achieve a batter which you can drop off a spoon into your hot oil. Fry these babies until golden brown turning once.