Nothing reminds me of home more than some authentic Jamaican saltfish fritters. They’re bursting with flavor, crispy around the edges, soft on the inside with just a hint of brine from the saltfish. Also known as Stamp and Go, these saltfish fritters are eaten as appetizers or as a snack on the go.
You can find them at local cook shops across the island, served in little brown paper bags. They’re just the right size to snack on when going home from school, work or even after church on a Sunday afternoon. They are a tasty memory from my childhood.
This authentic recipe is coming straight from my mother. I had to call her in Jamaica to make sure I was getting it right just for you!
What saltfish to use
Saltfish fritters start with a good flaky salted cod. I’m using Cristobal Salted Cod Fillet. This brand gives you a thick fillet that flakes up nicely when cooked and no bones. I found it at my local grocery but any good boneless saltfish will do. It’s important to remove as much of the salt as possible from the saltfish before cooking. The most common way is to soak the saltfish in cold water overnight. In fact you can leave it on the counter while it soaks, there’s no need to put it in the fridge.
Tip: If you forget to soak the fish overnight, you can boil out the brine. Specifically, boil for 10 mins, drain and add fresh water, boil again for 10 more minutes. After the second boil, taste and if it is still too salty, boil in fresh water for 10 more minutes. Since the saltfish cooks while doing this, it all takes about 20-30 minutes. No overnight soaking needed!
For this recipe, I’m adding a little sugar to offset the salty fishy taste. Trust me it works. Now, let’s get cooking. Full recipe and instructions below.
Authentic Jamaican Saltfish Fritters
- Large frying pan
- Food processor
- 14 oz. Saltfish – soaked, cooked and drained (see tip above)
- 1 Cup Sweet peppers – combination of colors
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 3 Stalks Scallion
- 1 Small Onion
- 1 Small Scotch bonnet pepper
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme – leaves only
- 1 Tsp Baking powder
- 1 Tsp Sugar
- 1 Tsp Paprika
- 2 Cups All-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Room temperature water
- 1/2 Tsp Black pepper
- 2 Cups Frying oil (varies depending on the size of your pan)
- Cook saltfish for 10 minutes. If using no-soak method, you'll need to cook for 10 minutes, drain, add more water and cook again for another 10 minutes. Repeat this 2 times. Taste before cooking a 3rd time.
- Flake and shred cooked saltfish.
- Add chopped sweet peppers, onion, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic to a small food processor and finely chop.
- Heat olive oil in a sauce pan, add chopped seasoning and thyme leaves. Stir and cook for a few minutes before adding saltfish. Then cook for 3 minutes with saltfish.
- Let this saltfish mixture cool for a few minutes.
- Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, paprika, black pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Combine flour and saltfish mixture using a spatula.
- Add 2 cups of water and stir with a big spoon or spatula.
- Heat frying oil to high temperature.
- Add mixture to high heat frying pan, about 2 tbsp each size. Then turn to medium heat.
- Fry until fritter is golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes.
- Remove fritters from oil and place on a cooling rack lined with paper towel.
- For frying I use sunflower oil. You can use any seed or nut oil for frying.
- These fritters are very light so you need to use a cooling rack to drain excess oil as they cool.
Enjoy these authentic Jamaican saltfish fritters with a light dipping sauce. I made a pepper sauce with a little lime juice and honey. It’s a perfect sauce for the salty, crispy fritters. Have you ever had these fritters? What are your favorite island snacks? Comment below and share.