Born Again in Second Language

There must be a moment, however brief, when you cease to be.
– NY Times Haiku

Salted Cod 4

Accras de morue is fritters made from salted cod fish. Originally of Portuguese origin, but also largely eaten in the Caribbean, Martinique, Guadalupe and Barbados. In France, Accras is almost always synonymous to the Caribbean, it is as if the original version is made there. We certainly ate this in Angola and in Mauritius, though I didn’t particularly pay too much attention on their differences.

There isn’t one unanimous recipe when it comes to accras. Opinion differs as to what make a good accras. Some uses eggs, some uses baking powder. Some uses different flour. One thing is clear, parsley is key and if you like it hot, piment antillais (or habanero chili) is added.

Salted Cod Collage
Salted Cod 3

Saying that I have had my fair share of bland accras is an understatement. But when it comes to fritters, I think Asians know a thing or two. They know how to tease the taste buds, playing with the saltiness and sweetness to reach that nice balance where everything just make sense together. And after multiple adjustments and tweaks, I think I found the accras that I really like: smooth and crispy skin, most importantly, far from bland.

Accras de Morue (Cod Fish Fritters)
makes about 20 accras

350 gr salted cod fish, soaked 24 hrs, changing the water 3-4 times
300 gr whole wheat flour (Farine de Ble, T45)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 large garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 (small) lime – about 2 tbsp
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
250 ml water
2 tsp sugar
1 – 1.5 tsp salt – start with one tsp and add more if needed
1/2 tsp pepper
pate de piment rouge (optional) chili sauce a la Creole
oil, to fry

  • Drain the soaked cod fish. Pull them apart further into smaller pieces, in order to have a “smooth” paste later on. Also because most accras I’ve eaten are rather smooth, no big chunk of fish can be seen. Use scissor if needed.
  • Transfer to a bowl, add in the onion and garlic.
  • In a medium-large bowl, add the flour and baking powder. Mix well before creating a well in the middle.
  • Pour in the water little by little, at the same time, using your hand mix the flour and water, making sure no lump. Add in the lime juice and mix. The mixture will be sticky and heavy.
  • Add in the fish mixture and the herbs.
  • Add the sugar, salt and pepper.
  • In a wok, heat up 4-5 cm of oil. Using two deep spoon, shape the mixture and gently drop into the heated oil. Fry till the accras are brown on all sides.
  • Serve immediately, with Creole’s chili sauce

Note: I pulled apart the cod fish before soaking. You can also soak them in as a big chunk and tear them apart later on.

Accras

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