Cameroonian Fish Rolls
When I had fish rolls as a kid they sucked! My mom never made fish rolls, and the ones that I bought from street vendors and fancy restaurants sucked! Then I grew up and made friends from Cameroon that made awesome fish rolls; nothing like what I had as a kid. A perfect combination of a crisp and light crust with a savory fish filling. Let me tell you the story of how I shifted from hating fish rolls and share the recipe that made me fall in love with them.
When church service ended as a kid, all it meant to me was that it was time to wait for my parents to have their after church meetings. Sometimes those after-church meetings lasted longer than the church service, and my sisters and I would have to wait for hours to start the one hour journey it took us to get home. Thankfully, the wait was bearable because I got to hang out with the other kids that were made to wait as well. Our hang out spot was a little kiosk right beside the church that sold soft drinks aka “minerals” and light snacks. One of the snacks that was sold there were fish rolls. I hated those fish rolls!!! But they seemed like a fancy thing to get; the fish rolls were one of the more expensive snacks (child in the 90’s expensive), and everyone seemed to like them a lot. It was a thick dense dough roll with a sliver (if at all any) of the driest mackerel you’ve ever tasted. Memories of me trying to love those rolls make me shudder.
Well, years later I met some lovely Cameroonian girls in college, and one day, one of them offered me a fish roll. Before I saw what she had to offer, I cringed at thought the fish rolls I remembered as a kid, and tried to figure out how many bites I would need to endure to be polite. When she presented the fish rolls, they looked absolutely nothing like what I had as a child, and a bite of these “new” fish rolls changed my heart towards fish rolls all together.
These fish rolls are absolutely scrumptious, try it!
- *For the Filling*
- 1/2 a pound of fish filet
- 1/2 a red onion chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- *For the Dough*
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
- Oil for deep frying
To make the filling, season the fish filet with salt and pepper and allow it to marinate for 1 hour. After the fish has marinated, place the fish in a steamer with the onions and steam for 10 minutes. Once the fish is done smash the fish with the onions. Adjust the seasoning at this point you you taste. You may add other spices and herbs as well.
To make the dough, mix 1 cup of water, sugar and yeast and set aside for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder, and create a small well in the flour mixture. Pour in the frothy liquid ingredients and the butter and mix well with the flour to form a dough. The dough should be smooth and soft but not too sticky to handle. You may add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky or add more water 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is too stiff. I added 2 additional tablespoons of water to get the perfect texture. Knead the dough gently for 2 minutes, and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.
Once the dough about doubles in size, divide into 10 equal pieces. Roll the dough into oval discs about 1/8th inch thick. On one of the narrow ends of the oval disc, place on tablespoon of the fish stuffing and seal as shown above.
Deep fry each fish roll in a hot oil (about 365 degree F) until golden brown. Serve warm