I learned to make many local dishes when I lived in Trinidad and several of them are favorites for my kids. Many times the ingredients have not been available in local grocery stores but a year ago a specifically Trinidadian grocery store opened up in the middle of the Poconos. Yay!!!! My son asked for buljol for dinner the other day so I thought I'd share it with you all.
From the French patois, "Brûlê Gueule," or "burn mouth," a mixture of shredded, de-salted codfish, oil, onion, tomatoes, black, hot and/or sweet peppers, etc. Apparently the original recipe called for really hot peppers -- hence the name "burn mouth."
-- From Cote Ci, Cote La: Trinidad & Tobago Dictionary, by John Mendes, © 1986.
This is a recipe that everyone makes but everyone makes a little differently. I did some searching for authentic recipes and came up with such variations. They all had the same ingredients for the most part but how they readied them was different. I will simply give you my variation. Since it is more or less a salad sort of thing you can play around with the amount of the ingredients to suit yourself. It's most commonly eaten for breakfast in Trinidad but we generally eat if for dinner or lunch. It's great in the hot weather.
BULJOL a la Lime
8-12 oz. pack of saltcod or other salt preserved mild fish
1 large onion
1 bell pepper
1 hot pepper, (jalapena, habanero, whatever floats your boat, this is optional if you don't like it hot)
1 large or two medium tomatoes
2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
Black pepper to taste
-Soak the saltcod overnight in about 8 cups of water. Change the water in the morning and a couple times during the day. Boil it in fresh water, drain, and boil again. It smells really fishy and gross during this process but it will taste fine if you've soaked it and rinsed it. Honest, I promise.
-Drain again and gently squeeze out excess water. Flake finely with two forks or your fingers.
-Finely dice all the veggies.
-Mix veggies, fish, lemon juice, and pepper.
-Serve it cold on hard rolls with sliced, hardboiled eggs, or avocado (called 'zaboca' in Trinidad).
By the way, this is very low calorie food.
Enjoy! Happy Trini Tuesday!