Bacalaítos with Curry Aioli

Bacalaítos are crispy fritters made with salted cod and served with a quick curry aioli dip.
Bacalaitos with Curry Aioli

Bacalaítos with Curry Aioli

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

This month for #FishFridayFoodies the theme is on preserved fish, such as pickled, canned or dried. I decided to bring one of my older recipes that I posted years ago to the blog from an old recipe website (before I started blogging) with only a few  minor changes. In this one, I am including the prep on the fish as well as using Scotch Bonnet in the recipe.

Being called bacalaitos I  am pretty sure means they are just small fritters from bacalhau which is what the Portuguese call salt cod. Just think of these as crispy fish fritters. They won’t be like pieces of fried fish- but more like hush puppies, and make a nice appetizer to go with other foods rather than a meal in itself.

And yes, it uses salted cod, although you can make it with leftover flaked fish. I won’t shoot you for doing so. But the salt cod has a much better flavor. But prepping the fish is simple and not a problem whatsoever. Of course you won’t think so when you first take it out of the package, as salted dried fish generally smells like unadulterated sin. And you may ask ourself why you wanted to cook it. *laughs*

But if you have made it before you won’t be worried. If this is your first time, you are just going to have to trust me on it. By the time you use it, there will be none of the foul, fish-sauce-scent remaining. Well, to be just, fish sauce (nam pla) smells a bit better than dried cod. LOL!

Bacalaitos with Curry Aioli

To get it ready, you’ll want to rinse off the outer crusted salt and then put it in water and let it soak. And change the water every now and again. The first few changes of water will be pretty stinky, but as time goes on, that foul fishy smell fades. And when you cook it,  I  do so in milk as the last line  of defense against the dark arts of smelly-salts. And when it is cooked and flaked it will taste mild and fine.

I use a Rubbermaid canister to soak it in, it is shaped like a short Tupperware cereal tub, just deep enough to  cover the fish and  just wide enough that I can keep the fish upright on its side while soaking so the water goes all the way around.

The rest is pretty easy with the end result being like fish inside of a soft fluffy hush puppy. Dipped  in the quick aioli it is quite nice. So this is not hard at all, just mostly waiting on the fish and soaking the water. Nothing else to be concerned about. Just make sure your fish has no bones or skin- remove them and don’t put that in the batter. Mine was skinless boneless and I am quite happy with that.

Join me tomorrow when I post with Soup Swappers. We are posting copycat soups and I have my version of Campbell’s tomato soup. Not just tomato soup- but as close as I can get to the flavor of that in the can, which does taste different from normal homemade soup. I hope to see you then.

Bacalaitos with Curry Aioli

Bacalaítos with Curry Aioli

  • Servings: 30
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Allow soaking time for salt cod- generally 1-2 days under refrigeration

Fritter Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dried salted cod fish (bacalhau)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • cooking oil (enough to  fill several inches in frying  pan)

Curry Aioli Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic


  1. Give the fish a cursory rinse under cold water to rinse off some of the salt.
  2. Place the fish in a container that you can prop the fish on its side and cover with water. Close the container and refrigerate.
  3. Change the water several times a day for 1-2 days, until  the water no longer smells and the fish just smells salty.
  4. Drain the fish and  place in a saucepan with the milk and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and  simmer for 5-10 minutes until fish can be flaked- time depends on thickness of fish.
  6. Drain the fish and flake it using a couple of forks, removing any bone or skin- the type I bought didn’t have any bone or skin. You should get about 2 cups of flaked fish.
  7. Mix up your aioli and set aside.
  8. Lightly beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the fritter  ingredients except the fish and  the cooking oil,  stirring to make a batter.
  9. Fold in the fish.
  10. Heat the oil until moderately hot in a frying pan, but don’t fill it more than halfway with oil.
  11. Use a cookie scoop to drop batter into the hot oil (or you may use a tablespoon) and fry, turning the fritters, until golden, then drain on paper toweling.
  12. Serve the fritters with the curry aioli as a dip, as you would  tartar sauce.

From the kitchen of

Bacalaitos with Curry Aioli

Fish Friday Foodies

“Preserved Fish- Pickled, Canned, Dried or ?”

Be sure to check out the other Fish Friday Foodies Bloggers this month!

Click on the hop link button to be transported to the other recipes:

Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month.  To join our group please email Wendy at Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.

6 responses

  1. You crack me up! “salted dried fish generally smells like unadulterated sin.” This sounds amazing, and I’m deeply in love with anything that has fritter in it’s name, or is compared to fritters, and this ingredient list is right up my alley.

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