Let me see you ‘stamp and go’


Patois, or Caribbean Creole is a blend of different languages, each island in the Caribbean posessing it’s own dialect.

I grew up to the sound of Jamaican Patois. At times highly amusing, occasionally very frustrating,  but on the whole  extremely entertaining. Every now and then  I would have no idea what my parents were saying and would have to make an educated guess as to what they wanted me to do. If I were wrong it would be to my disadvantage because then  would come  “a wa mi jus seh?” (what did I say?)  or “Ow com you too ‘ard airse?” (why are you so wayward?).

I remember the first time I went to Jamaica -I was 10yrs old – the people were colourful, gregarious, and affable. However, I had no idea what anyone was saying so my mum had to act as translator.

My grandmother – sister sweetie as she was known, was lovely. She and my grandfather spoilt me rotton. She would say things like “a wat im waant fi eat?” , “ow im pretty soh”  and “leave im alone G”
My Grandfather, not  understanding anything I said, would dispassionately grunt a reply, stare at me uncomprehendingly, or get my mum to translate.
The Jamaican language  is heavily influenced by the West African  dialects brought in by the slaves, I’m no expert, but I do know that  African men and women can have the same name, because in Africa you give your child a name according to the meaning, not the gender. Perhaps that’s why I became a ‘he’ and a ‘him’.

Grandma was also a  wonderful cook when it came to Caribbean food – Her fish fritters were simply gorgeous!  The spicy, spongy interior was beautifully offset by the silky, soft-crisp exterior. They were so moreish that once I started eating them  I couldn’t stop.

Of course there was  a price to pay -  I always ate far too many.
Grandma would always laugh affectionately and one of her sayings was
“Now yu see, yu nyam far too much. Yu eyes far bigga dan yu Mout, yu gwine get bang belly.” (You’ve eaten too much and now you’re going to have a tummy ache).

The fish fritters were worth it though. I loved them :)

Fish fritters have different titles in different caribbean islands – for example  -  Accra(Trinidad),Bacalaitos(Antigua), Saltfish cake(Barbados), Stamp and go(Jamaica).

Why not try these at home, and create a bit of sunshine.


Angeli’s  Caribbean Food Fish Fritters –

150g (5.5 oz)  chopped salt fish (Remember to soak the fish overnight to remove the excess salt. You can then  taste the fish to see if it is at the right saltiness for you – I use the salted fish that has been filleted and de-boned)

250g (1/2 lb) plain flour
1 tablespoon chopped tomato
1 dessert spoon chopped scotch bonnet
1 tablespoon chopped spring onion
1 egg
1 teas thyme leaves
Approx 500ml (1pt)  water
Large deep frying pan, or wok.

Heat oven to 220 degrees centigrade (428 fahrenheit)

Put the fish, flour, tomato, pepper, onion, and thyme leaves in a bowl and  mix together.

Add the water bit by bit until you have a  thick watery dough – you  may not have to use all the water.
Roughly beat the egg and add to the mixture
Now vigorously beat  everything  together with a  hand whisk to incorporate as much air as possible.
Put oil in pan and heat – you want it to be about 4cm (2inches) deep , you will know it is hot enough if you sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in and it sizzles.
Using a dessert spoon, drop in spoonfuls of the mix, and fry on both sides until golden brown.
Take them out and place in an ovenproof dish.
Once all are fried, put in  hot oven for aprox 8-10 mins.

Your fritters are now ready to serve.



One Response to “Let me see you ‘stamp and go’”

  1. Shanti on March 4th, 2010 11:06 am

    I love the accents! I love this story! “Bang belly” means tummy ache! Poetic lingo and you inherited it. This recipe looks like a crowd pleaser. Now if only I could make and serve this to my friends while telling this story with the style you possess.