Codfish Fritters – Pataniscas

Codfish Fritters - Pataniscas - Tasting Portugal
A classic from Lisbon, locally called “Pataniscas”, these codfish fritters are a much appreciated treat served as an appetizer or a main course.

for 4 people

300gr desalted salt cod
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of flour
1 egg
1 cup of water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 milk)
1 Tbsp of olive oil
Fresh parsley
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Oil to deep fry

Codfish Fritters Batter - Tasting Portugal

Deep Frying the Cod Fish Fritters - Tasting Portugal

1. Remove skin and bones from the desalted salt cod. Shred the cod with your hands.
2. Finely chop the onion and the garlic cloves.
3. Chop the parsley
4. In a bowl combine the water, egg and olive oil. Add the flour and whisk heavily.
5. Add the onion, garlic, cod and the parsley.
6. Season to your taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
7. Heat the oil up in a large frying pan. Spoon the batter with the help of a serving spoon.
8. When you place the batter into the oil, the spoon should drop the batter back/front so that they stay flat. If you drop the batter from front to back the fritters will be thick and round.
9. Turn the fritters around until they’re golden.
10. Remove the fritters from the frying pan and let them rest on a plate covered with kitchen paper towel.

Serve with a green salad or any of these rices – tomato / tomato & red sweet peppers / beans / green sprouts.

This recipe is a traditional recipe from the Portuguese Cuisine – Estremadura Region (Lisbon).

Bom Proveito! (Enjoy it!)

My Notes

Trashing the Classic – NOT Traditional at all
This batter also makes delicious savoury pancakes, is as simple as changing the cooking method.
No To Food Waste:
If you have fish leftovers replace the codfish with the leftovers.
Codfish Pancakes
Trashing the Classic – My kids love “pataniscas” but deep fry food is something we only eat occasionally, these pancakes are an option for our brunch.
Cod Fish Fritters served with rice - Tasting Portugal
Pataniscas – Codfish fritters a classic from Lisbon’s region.

Folar – Easter savoury bread

From right to left: Chorizo,  smoked cured ham and parsley | Chorizo and smoked cured ham | Plain
From left to right: Chorizo, smoked cured ham and parsley | Chorizo and smoked cured ham | Plain
It can be quite confusing the diference between “Folar” and “Bola” because it depends on the portuguese region and sometimes the city or village you are from.

As a general rule we can say that savoury Easter bread, which are more common on North Portugal (Trás-os-Montes/Douro and Minho regions) are called “Bola”, and the sweet Easter bread which is spread all over the country would be the “Folar”. But the true is that we mix the two names and in some regions “Bola” and “Folar” can both be used on savoury versions.

The savoury Easter bread is filled with chicken, chouriço, smoked cured ham, cod fish or even sardines. The sweet version is similar to a plain brioche, which can be flavoured with cinnamon and anise seeds. In Lisbon as well as in the Azore’s Islands the sweet brioche is topped with hard boiled eggs (with shell on).

I have never been an enthusiast for the sweet versions and I can blame my mother for that, as she made every year two batches of this delicious Folar.

Small tasks children can do.  Here to be baked in a jelly roll pan.
Small tasks children can do. Here to be baked in a jelly roll pan.

Makes 4 loaves

1 Kg plain flour (not self-raising)
18 eggs
200g butter
200ml of olive oil
150ml water
30g fresh yeast
30g sea salt

For filling
Smoked cured ham

All ingredients should be at room temperature.

1. Butter the loaf tins or use baking paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water and the fresh yeast.
3. In another bowl whisk the eggs (yolk and whites).
4. Melt the butter in a small pan, remove from the heat. Add the olive oil and whisk. Set aside.
5. On a big bowl put the flour and the sea salt and open a hole in the middle. Add the water/yeast mixture and mix slowly.
6. Add the whisked eggs and mix.
7. Add the olive oil and butter mixture.
8. Mix the dough for about 15 minutes, until bubbles come to surface.
9. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise a room temperature for about 2 hours. My kitchen it’s very warm in the afternoon, so I place the bowl near a window with direct sun light.
10. Slice the chouriço. Slice the smoked cured ham. Slice the bacon.
11. With your hand release the dough from the bowl, and place a portion of dough onto the tin, on top lay the sliced chouriço and bacon, add another portion of dough and a layer of smoked cured ham. Finish it with a portion of dough.
12. Cover the tins with a tea towel and leave to rise a room temperature for about 30 minutes. It’s ready as soon as you see little bubbles on surface.
13. Preheat the oven.
14. Bake for about 40 minutes (225ºC).

Baked on a jelly roll pan
Baked on a jelly roll pan

My Notes

Loaf tins
You can make the folar on a rectangular loaf tin or on a jelly roll pan.
No To Food Waste:
The baked folar can be frozen.
Toast your folar slice and spread your favourite butter.

Stuffed squid – Algarve’s Middle Eastern inherited recipe

Stuffed squid – Algarve’s Middle Eastern inherited recipe

While in London last summer, I had the pleasure to meet Bethany Kehdy at her book launch – The Jewelled Kitchen. This Middle Eastern cookbook was my travel companion back home, and I found quite surprisingly that the traditional Portuguese cuisine still honours on it’s repertoire at least two Middle Eastern inherited recipes: The Tomato soup with poached eggs (an Alentejo typical soup) and the Stuffed squid (a typical dish from Algarve).

The Jewelled Kitchen cookbook
The Jewelled Kitchen – a collection of Lebanese, Moroccan & Persian Recipes by Bethany Kehdy

The Portuguese versions of these two dishes are much lighter on spices. Spices were gold back then and only available at noble houses or convents, therefore I believe that the recipes were adapted to what was available to peasants.

While the Portuguese tomato soup with poached eggs (shakshoukah for the North African) keeps it’s inherited recipe untouched, the stuffed squid (stated by Bethany as an “example of the Levant’s flair for stuffing”) changes slightly by taking all spices out. The Portuguese version doesn’t use red chilli, dill leaves neither the lebanese seven spices, instead use as the only aromatic herb parsley. As per the stuffing we prefer the rice while the Middle Eastern recipe uses bulgur wheat.

With this recipe in mind and after several weeks roaming to the farmer’s market fishmonger for fresh squids and with the right size, I finally made it.

Serves 4 people
16 small squids
1 dl of olive oil
1 big onion
250g of ripe tomato
Fresh ground black pepper
16 wooden cocktail sticks

For Stuffing
1 big onion
2 garlic cloves
1 dl of olive oil
150 g of chouriço (portuguese chourizo)
250 g of ripe tomato
1/2 cup of rice
1 bay leaf

Clean the Squids
1. Separate the tentacles from the bodies of the squids. Keep the tentacles.
2. Remove the guts from inside the bodies, and the coloured skin from outside.
3. Remove the two membranes from outside. Keep the membranes.
4. Rinse the squid under cold run water.
5. Rinse the tentacles and the membranes.
6. Chop the tentacles and membranes. Set them aside.

Squid tentacles and membranes
Set aside the squid tentacles and membranes for stuffing.

1. Peel and chop the onions.
2. Peel and chop the 1 garlic clove.
3. Peel and chop the tomatoes (keep the juices, do not drain the tomatoes)
4. Remove the skin and chop the chouriço.
5. Rinse the rice.
6. Chop the parsley.
7. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the olive oil, the onion and the garlic clove, let it soft.
8. Add the tomatoes, and the bay leaf and let it cook, on a low heat.
9. Add the chopped tentacles, membranes and chouriço. Let it cook on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Check the seasoning. Add fresh ground black pepper and salt if needed.
10. Add the rice, the parsley and stir for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
11. Remove from the heat, let it cool before stuffing the squids.

Squid Stuffing
Preparing the squid stuffing
Uncooked stuffed squids
Uncooked stuffed squids

Assembling and cooking the squids
1. Stuff the squid with the mixture and secure using a wooden cocktail stick. Leave around 1/4 of the squid empty, otherwise while cooking the squid will crack.
2. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the olive oil, the onion and the garlic clove, let it soft.
3. Add the tomatoes and let it cook, on a low heat, for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the stuffed squids, sprinkle with parsley and cover with a lid. Let them cook for about 1 hour on a very low heat. Shaking the saucepan occasionally.
5. Check seasoning. Add salt if needed.

Serve with boiled potatoes, chips or rice.

Bom Proveito! (Enjoy!)

Tomatada – a hot tomato soup with poached eggs

Tomatada – a hot tomato soup with poached eggs

After making two batches of tomato jam, some spicy chutney for fish, and even musaq’a (a middle east dish with aubergines, tomato and chickpeas). I think it’s time to enjoy Tomatada before the tomato season comes to an end.

You need sweet over ripe tomatoes to make this delicious hot tomato soup with poached eggs. No canned tomatoes, nor sugar, neither carrot is allowed. You really need to find the most fully developed tomatoes to enjoy the soup’s unique flavour.


Serves 5

1kg of ripe tomatoes
500 ml of water
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
5 eggs
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp of olive oil
Herb bouquet: Fresh oreganos, mint and parsley
Fresh ground black pepper
Alentejo’s Bread

1 chouriço (portuguese chourizo)
1 large red sweet pepper + 2 garlic cloves chopped

1. Peel and thin slice the onions.
2. Peel and chop the 3 garlic cloves.
3. Peel and chop the tomatoes (keep the juices, do not drain the tomatoes)
4. Remove the skin to the chouriço, and slice it.
5. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the chouriço and let it fry on its own fat. As soon as the chouriço is crispy remove it from the pan and set aside. Keep the melted fat in the pan.
6. Add the olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan. Keep the low-heat and let them cook until soft.
7. Add the tomatoes, 250 ml of water, the herb bouquet, the bay leaf and season it with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to your taste. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes on a very low heat. Stir often.
The need to add the extra 250 ml of water will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are and if you like your soup more of a thick sauce or a watery soup. Keep adding it along the cooking process to reach the desired consistency.
8. Roast the bell pepper, remove skin and seeds. Cut the pepper into thin stripes. Place the pepper on a bowl add the 2 chopped garlic cloves. Season with olive oil and salt. Set aside.
9. As soon as the tomatoes are cooked. Check the seasoning.
If you like to keep the soup like a sauce, poach the eggs separately on water.
If you like your soup more watery, poach the eggs directly into the soup. Cover the pan and let them cook for around 4 minutes.
Serve immediately, with bread slices, olives, the chouriço and the roasted sweet peppers.

I have offered the roasted sweet red pepper as a side dish because one of my kids doesn’t really enjoy the flavour. But you can add the raw sweet pepper strips to the soup at the same time as the tomatoes and let it cook.
Other Portuguese sausages can be cooked together with the chouriço, for example morcela (a portuguese blood sausage) and farinheira (a smoked sausage which the main ingredients are: pork, garlic, flour, pepper, potatoes).

This recipe is from the Portuguese Cuisine of Alentejo’s region, south Portugal.

Bom proveito! (Enjoy it!)