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Trinidad Buljol (recipe)


Salted codfish, tomatoes and the hottest peppers known to man. Probably not the most scintillating combination on paper, but believe me one taste and you -will- be hooked! Buljol is without a doubt one of my favorite breakfast foods. I love the way that the saltiness of the dried shredded cod plays off the cool wetness of the tomatoes and the spicy shreds of scotch bonnet peppers. It is a simple topping that needs little accompaniment. I often have it plain on buttered toast (as pictured above), or with some wholewheat bake [1] or hops [2]. If I’m feeling decadent I add chunks of creamy zaboca (avocado). YUM!

The name of this salad of shredded saltfish comes from the French brule, meaning burnt, and geule, slang for mouth. Since it is served at room temperature, the burning is obviously the result of the Congo pepper. Traditionally, buljol is served for breakfast or a Sunday brunch. – Dave DeWitt

According to Epicurious.com [3] buljol is known in some other parts of the Caribbean as ‘Pick-Up Saltfish’ [4]. I have never heard of this term before so please let me know if this is accurate or not, and if so in which parts. My Jamaican mother says she never saw this dish before moving to Trinidad. Thanks!

Now I’ve seen recipes for buljol that include hardboiled eggs, lettuce and other strange (to me) ingredients -within- the buljol, rather than on the side. I don’t know (and feel free to let me know your variations) how common these versions are in the ‘real world’, I’ve certainly never had or seen them. To me the beauty of buljol is how simple and unadorned I know it to be. That’s why this is the recipe that I’ve decided to share :)

Recipe: (from Naparima Girls High School Cookbook)


1/2 lb saltfish (salted cod)
1 or 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh hot pepper, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped or sliced
1 sweet pepper, finely chopped (we don’t use sweet pepper in our version)
1 – 2 tbsp olive oil


1. Break fish in pieces and place in saucepan with cold water
2. Gradually heat to boiling and throw away water.
3. Repeat until fish tastes fresh and no longer salty
4. Remove skin and bones and break pieces of fish in even smaller pieces
5. Blend fish with remaining ingredients.

This post was originally published December 27, 2006. It has been updated once since then.

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About Sarina [6]

Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes" [7]