Monday, May 30, 2011

Stewed Salt fish; just like Granny used to make

Huge greetings to everyone! I know I have been absent for a bit, but as you know, I do have a day job and unfortunately for the past few weeks, it seems like it is trying to swallow me whole. I’ve had more than my share of late evenings and bringing work home, but I’ve also had to deal with much more negativity and bitterness. Yes… it’s been taking a toll on the old Halcie.

Sadly, I work in a high stress environment that tests my natural good natured self daily. Of late, I’d come home so tired and angry over the day’s events that I wouldn’t even prepare something proper for myself to eat (Gasp!) and instead I’d just purchase and eat whatever street food or takeout I saw along the way.

Not good.  

Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that after one of the worst Fridays I’ve ever spent on the job, I decided to call upon another of my Granny’s classics for some comfort. Just like her special mashed potatoes, her Stewed Salt fish is the stuff of legends, reputed to banish any unhappy or angry feelings and replace them with nothing but satisfaction… I kid you not. She would say, “When jumbie (bad spirit) troubling you, ent you does throw salt to chase it? Well, eat salt fish and they will stay away too.”

So, I placed the contents of an entire large 400 g pack of salted shark to boil for 15 to 20 minutes and while that was happening...

I started by slicing 3 medium sized ripe tomatoes and 5 pimento peppers.

Chopped up a large stalk of celery, sliced a huge sweet pepper into thin strips, chopped up an onion, and sliced a couple stalks of chive. I also got 2 peeled garlic cloves, a sprig of parsley and a sprig of fresh thyme for the pot.

I took the salt fish and drained it, then using a fork, I lightly took it apart in small chunks. You see, this is going to be turned about in the pot as you cook it, so I didn’t flake it as finely as I normally would as if I was making a buljol… it would have dissolved otherwise.

Now for the cooking. A couple tablespoons of regular soya or vegetable oil goes into a heated pot, into which two crushed garlic cloves are then put in. Took them out when they were browned, so the oil had a lovely garlic flavour.

In went the chive, pimento peppers and onion, which I sautéed for a couple of minutes. This was followed by the sweet pepper strips, which also got tossed for a bit. Then the chunks of salt fish entered the pot with a quiet sizzle.

After cooking for about 3 minutes, I added in the sliced tomatoes. In went about a ½ cup of water – the amount usually varies – followed by the parsley, the sprig of fresh thyme and my Granny’s special touch, a pat (roughly less than a tablespoon) of Golden Ray cooking margarine and an 'adjustable' spoonful of ketchup. (I could almost see her smile as I did that!)

Next, the pot gets covered, the heat is turned down low and the stew simmers for 8 to 10 minutes.

Here’s the finished product, Granny’s Salt Fish Stew.

As you can see, my daughter didn’t miss a beat and fixed herself a sandwich immediately, hahahaa!

The rest of us created our own sandwiches soon after, and the remainder was eaten with bhaji rice, plantains and a lovely cucumber salad. The only thing that was missing from this recipe was a couple of boiled eggs, which Granny would slice and put in the pot after the stew was done. As a child, it was my favourite part, since I have a ‘thing’ for the yolks which contrasted nicely with the veggies. But, it’s just as tasty without them, so don’t worry.

Just so you know, after enjoying that stew, I was right as rain. ;-)

So, I shall now take my leave and quietly relax until my next workday, which I plan to enjoy to the fullest by laughing my head off at EVERYTHING. Everyone, enjoy today’s Indian Arrival holiday (May 30th) and the rest of your long weekend. Until next I write, my friends, I leave you much love  and many hugs.

Don’t forget to mind the pot.


  1. that with some dumpling would be excellent :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing, love the pics, they made my mouth water. My salfish is boiling as I type! Can't wait!