Saturday, August 20, 2011

De Neighbour Caused a Fry Bake…

My friends, I don’t know if this is just a vaps or last night’s hunger operating here, but I have just finished munching on a classic Trini staple, fried bake and cheese.

You see, last night I was chilling out in my room as usual when I heard some activity and noises coming from the back house next door. Then I smelled what the activity was all about. Fried bakes were sizzling. The smell alone… people… it pelted me back to my Granny standing in front our old mustard coloured Consol stove (humming away) as she delicately turned her bakes over with a fork.

Funny enough, because she made bread so often, she would always run out of yeast by the time she felt for a fried bake, so the one I remember well is her baking powder version, which I loved because they were flaky and soft. (Don’t worry, I appreciate a chewy bake as well!)

So, into the kitchen I went to make my own noise. I wonder what my neighbour will think when she begins to smell my own? Hmmmm! 

Started with just 2 cups of flour, which I sifted.
Added two teaspoons baking powder and one of salt, then whisked all together.

Got 4 ounces (about a half pack) of Cookeen margarine, chopped it up and added it to the flour. (As a side note, I should mention that my Granny sometimes used half margarine and half regular butter (2 ounces each) in this.)

(My daughter Leja took over photography duty at this point, lol!)
 Sprinkled on a teaspoon of sugar and used my fingers to break down the margarine until the flour looked like breadcrumbs.

Next, I got my potspoon for the mixing, then added less than a cup of (room temperature) water. Remember, there’s no yeast, so you don’t need to have warm water going in this. I stirred it with the spoon until it came together – sticky – then sprinkled on a ¼ cup more flour so I could start kneading it lightly.
 Keeping the bowl steady, I gathered the dough and folded it on itself, then just pushed it off with my palm, over and over again.

As the flour worked itself in, the dough got less and less tacky, so just a little more flour was needed for the final bit. As you see here, the dough got even smoother and the sides of the bowl were cleaned. All that needed to be done was to just smooth out the ball of dough and set it in the bowl.

Sprayed the top of it with a little cooking spray (so it doesn’t get hard) and then covered it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes to half an hour. It won’t really rise, but wondrous things will be definitely be taking place!

Rolling out the dough was simple. I just shaped it into a long sausage, cut it in half, then cut each half into four to get 8 bakes. If you like, you can just pinch off bits of dough instead and roll them into balls.

Next, I took a ball of dough and flattened it with my fingers. Added some flour to the board and then rolled it to about a 5 to 6 inch wide circle with about a ¼ inch of thickness.
Heated about 2 cups of oil in my pan (medium flame) and put my bakes on standby.

Into the hot oil they went. In no time at all, they puffed up like little balloons and when the bottoms became golden brown, I turned them over. When shallow frying like this, I tend to keep the pan moving so they puff up even faster. You can even use a spoon to baste the top of the bake as it cooks.
(And yes, the smell in my kitchen was heavenly!)

As we say, “in two-twos, the fry bake done”!

How do I enjoy my bake? With cheese and some home made local pepper sauce! Yummy!

Breakfast was BESSSSS! The bakes were nice and flaky and the cheese just melted into them… wow. Those fried bakes had me feeling like Granny was right there with me in the kitchen again… no lie. *smiles warmly* 
It really felt good to go back in time with this one, even if it took sniffing my neighbur’s cooking to do it, hahahaa!

Thus ends another cooking adventure and I look forward to sharing even more kitchen hi-jinks. Take care of yourselves in the meantime and don’t forget to mind de pot!


  1. I LOVE fry bake and cheese :-) especially the baking powder version with the extra crispiness from cookeen. I remember the first time I made it for Jamaican room-mates/friends in University and they were eating it out before I was finished. It is so essential I made it for our family Tobago vacation-breakfast!

  2. Girl, your comment has me smiling so much. My family does the same thing to me whenever I make these. Wasn't even done frying and they were being cut into and loaded with cheese, hahaha! My daughter loves to press hers even flatter so it crumbles and flakes off in her plate, then she pinches the flakes and puts them on her tongue. :-)