Bajan (Barbados) burger recipe

BH&T Barbados burger recipeBajan spiced fishcake with papaya butternut squash mash
Barbados is the eastern most island in the Caribbean.  It has beautiful sandy beaches and is generally not susceptible to hurricanes (although it’s technically in the hurricane belt).

courtesy of CIA World Factbook

courtesy of CIA World Factbook

Barbadians refer to themselves as Bajan – since that’s a lot easier to say and to type, we’ll use that word for the rest of this recipe. Tourism is a huge part of the economy in Barbados, so as expected, there are lots of options for food of all kinds on the island.  Like Antigua and Barbuda, there is a local polenta dish called Cou Cou (basically the same as the Fungi recipe from Antigua and Barbuda).  Given that we’ve already explored this flavor, I decided to not include it with the Barbados burger, but if you want a more authentic flavor of the island, use the Fungi recipe and enjoy.  As with so many cuisines, there is a Bajan seasoning that has as many recipes as there are Bajan cooks.  While Bajans like their food spicey, you can control the heat in this dish by using more mild chilies or less of the pepper, you can also add more of the chili pepper if you want to spice it up even more.  When I made the recipe tonight, I went light on the peppers and my one year old daughter was able to enjoy the fish cake with us – in fact, she ate most of mine!

In terms of meat, you can, of course, get good beef, pork and chicken in Barbados, but being an island country, fish is key to the local cuisine.  The local fish of choice is flying fish.  If you are lucky enough to find some flying fish at your local grocer, you should make this recipe with it, but my neighborhood is flying fish free, so I used cod.  You could also substitute any other flaky white fish.  This makes a really light and tasty fishcake – great for summer time or any time you are looking for a lighter burger alternative.  Even my father ate his “burger”, at the same time claiming that it was “just ok”.  We aren’t big fish people in my family, so I’ll take the clean plate at face value and declare success.  My husband and I both loved it.

Because I went shopping before noon today and Massachusetts has a ridiculous law that alcohol can’t be sold before noon on Sunday, I wasn’t able to get a special wine for this dish.  So we cracked open a Coppola Rosso (nice and light with a little bit of spice on the finish).  It was great.

I tried the burger toppings with a veggie burger and it wasn’t great – the flavors of the Garden Burger fought with the freshness of the toppings – I didn’t love it.  Overall the recipe is easy to make and you can do as I did, make all the toppings and the mix for the fish cake ahead of time, then just fry up the fish cakes when you’re ready to eat.

Barbados Burger
1 cup cooked cod (steamed works best)
½ cup Bajan Seasoning (recipe below)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs*
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg lightly beaten
⅔ cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
Four slices of brioche or other soft bread
Papaya Butternut Squash Mash (recipe below)
Bajan Mayo (recipe below)

In a large non-stick frying pan, lightly toast the bread over med-high heat. Remove and set aside.

Place fish in a large bowl and use a fork to shred or flake the fish.  Add next five ingredients and combine thoroughly.  Form four patties out of the mixture (it will be a very wet mixture).  In a large non-stick frying pan over med-high heat, heat the coconut oil until shimmering.  Carefully place each patty into the hot oil and fry until golden (about 3-5 minutes).  Gently turn each patty over and continue cooking until both sides are golden (another 3-5 minutes). Place one fish patty on each slice of toasted bread.  Top each patty with 2-4 Tablespoons of the Papaya Butternut Squash Mash and 1-2 Tablespoons of the Bajan Mayo.

*(just take stale or toasted bread in food processor and pulse until you have a good crumble – don’t use store bought bread crumbs)

Bajan Seasoning
7-8 green onions sliced thin (white and light green parts)
1 Scotch bonnet chili minced
¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill finely chopped
⅛ cup fresh marjoram finely chopped
⅛ cup fresh thyme finely chopped
½ small onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
juice of one lime
kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to two days).

BH&T Barbados Bajan seasoning

Papaya Butternut Squash Mash
1 pound butternut squash
1 pound papaya
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Slice squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp in the center.  Place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven until very soft (about an hour).  Remove from oven and cool then scoop flesh out of the skin and into a bowl.  Peel the papaya and remove and discard the seeds.  Finely chop the flesh of the fruit and add to the butternut squash.  Place both in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Salt to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to one day).

BH&T Barbados papaya mash

Bajan Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Bajan Seasoning

Combine ingredients and refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.

BH&T Barbados mayo

Copyright © 2011 Linda Monach
This entry was posted in caribbean recipes, fish burgers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bajan (Barbados) burger recipe

  1. Tia says:

    Hey Jay I thought of you when I saw this!

  2. Egg says:

    What an awesome idea for a blog! I just started following but I’m excited to see more 🙂

  3. Christine says:

    What a wonderful combination I will definitely need to try this, as I love Mexican food and fish. Personally when trying to eat more healthily I try to incorporate more fresh seafood especially fish in my diet and if we need to eat more fish make mine salmon. Although salmon is one of my favorite fishes to cook with it is also something we have to take the time to manage properly for future generation to enjoy. I love Salmon Recipes of all kinds and among my favorites is Dijon mustard and honey for its sweet and sour flavor. I will have to make a note to try this recipe the next time I make seafood though.

  4. Pingback: barbados recipes

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