Caribbean Codfish Cakes

Caribbean Codfish Cakes

This delicious dish comes from Ena Forde-Findlay of Brooklyn, New York.

Ena’s mother and father were born in St. Vincent, West Indies.  Her mother’s maiden name was Frances Lotmore and her father was Voluton H. Williams. They met in Brooklyn and got married. Ena’s father became a minister and then founded Trinity C.M.E. Church. He also worked for the post office and on V.E. Day he said the prayer of thankfulness at the main post office in Manhattan. Ena worked as a clerk for the Southern District Court for 34 years and her sister was in the Department of Health for 40 years. Ena said, “America has been wonderful for our entire family."

Caribbean Codfish Cakes

2 lbs. boneless dried salted codfish
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped (optional)
4-5 scallions, finely chopped
2 eggs
3-3 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. hot pepper (optional)
2 cups water
vegetable oil or Crisco


  1. Cut codfish in large pieces and put in a pot with cold water. If you are on a restricted salt diet, soak the codfish overnight.

  2. Change the water and let it cook on a medium burner, bringing it to a boil for one hour. If it is still salty, change the water and boil again.

  3. Drain and when cool separate with a fork and place in bowl.

  4. Make sure that the mixture is free from bones.

  5. Mix the green and red peppers, onions, scallions together and stir into codfish.

  6. Add eggs.

  7. Sprinkle black pepper and paprika into mixture.

  8. Mix flour and baking powder together and add to codfish mixture, alternating with flour and water.

  9. Before all of the flour mixture is added, combine hot pepper with 1/4 cup of water and add to the mixture.

  10. Continue adding the flour and water. If mixture is too thick, add a little more water.

  11. Put vegetable oil, not too deep, into a large frying pan, heat slowly to a temperature of 375-400°.
  12. Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture into hot oil in individual cakes.
  13. Turn over when golden brown on one side, then brown on the other side. Keep adding oil. 
  14. Line a flat pan with paper towel and allow the cakes to drain. 
  15. Makes 35 to 45 cakes. 
  16. Recipe may be cut in half.


For more great recipes from around the world, purchase your copy of The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook.

The cookbook is a 268-page spiral-bound book containing recipes from thirty-five countries. The recipes are introduced with family memories. The book also contains a History of Ellis Island, Chronology, Immigrant Food Memories.

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