Serve your bakes with this fresh salmon hash, made with local fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes and potatoes
Bakes and fish (also known as bannocks and salmon) is the only hangover from colonisation that I will accept. The Scots brought their bread from Scotland and left a version of bannock wherever they touched down. I guess, not unlike a Guyanese bringing their cookup recipes, or Americans finding innovative ways to make burgers wherever they go, or even Greeks spreading the joy of meat on a stick.
Food travels, and thereby leaves a forever impression. Food is subtle and gentle as it slowly becomes a part of our history, we consume and rejoice in the sampling of foods from around the world…until one day we realise we do not know from whence this dish came.
In Guyana, someone in history named them bakes. In my mind’s eye, I see the moment clearly…
A sweltering day in a place lush with thick forests, the haze of the cook fire trailing out the dark interior of the kitchenhouse. The dark-skinned cook, clad in a long shift dress overlaid with a tightly wrapped snowy white apron. A colourful head wrap taming her beautiful curls.
A tall red-faced man, severely overdressed for the weather, sweat pouring down his sideburns.
The man, gesticulating madly, his voice raised: BAAAANOCKS, BAH NOKS!
The cook, still and calm, her eyebrows knitted: Bakes?
So, there you have it, they are called Bakes in Guyana. We serve bakes with stewed fish, or sautéed fresh fish, or with roasted eggplants, or with cheese imported from New Zealand, or with just about anything we can fit nicely into a sliced bake.
I live in Vancouver so alas I must contend with fresh salmon from our pristine waters.
Serve your bakes with this fresh fish hash, made with local fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes and potatoes.
Get the Green Seasoning recipe here.
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup brown cane sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup milk
1 cup water (a few tablespoons more or less depending on the consistency of the dough)
1 litre canola oil (for the frying) poured into in a deep pasta pot
Place all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl, add the liquids, and using your fingers, quickly mix the dough until everything is combined. Do not knead like you would bread – the dough should look like a smoother drop-dumplings dough.
Cover with plastic wrap, and tuck the edges around the dough to keep it moist. Set aside for about 1 hour.
Heat the oil on high, once it is at the deep-frying temp, lower the heat to medium.
Break the dough off into tennis balls size – you should get about 10 pieces.
Flour the board, and gently roll the bakes out into ½ inch thick circles.
Drop 3 circles into the hot oil, cook until one side is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side (it takes seconds to cook these, maybe 15/30 seconds per side).
Place on paper towels, then transfer to a tea towel in a bowl and cover with the edges of the towel (this is to keep them warm until service).
Continue cooking the others. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool, save it to reuse within the next week.
1big fillet salmon (about 2-3 pounds)
olive oil to roast the fish
juice of ½ of a lemon
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1tablespoon green seasoning, recipe here
salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small chilli, minced
1 medium potato, very thinly sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon green seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Place fillet in a Ziploc bag, add 1 tablespoon green seasoning, the thyme leaves, the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt.
Seal the bag and shake to get the fish coated. Set aside.
Pour olive oil into a baking dish, lay out I layer of lemon slices, place the marinated fish (skin side down) on top of the lemons, and bake in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool.
Once cool, flake the fish off the skin and place in a separate bowl.
Note: Don’t discard the skin, use it in other recipes – flip the skin up and replace in the oven to crisp. You can use this crispy salmon skin to add to fish and noodle soups and salmon salads.
Warm the olive oil, add the onions and cook until caramelised.
Add the garlic and chillies and let it brown slightly.
Add the tomato paste, stir well, and add the fresh tomatoes.
Now, add the potatoes and fry for 2 minutes, then pour in 2 tablespoons water and cover, lower the heat and let the potatoes cook through. Check and add more liquid if need be, but not to make it saucy, remember we are making a hash.
Remove from the heat and add the flaked salmon and mix well – it will be hash-like but that is the texture we need for the stuffed bakes.
To serve, slice the bakes and butter one side, on the other slice dab a dash of hot sauce, layer 3 thin slices cucumber, fill with 1 tablespoon or more salmon hash.
Make yourself a big cup of tea and enjoy your Guyanese-style dinner, or breakfast.