Rowena G's Recipes

Bacalau a Bras

Recipe by
25 hours if using dried fish. 1 hour 15 minutes if using frozen fish.
Prep: 1 hour | Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes | Servings: 4 - 6 persons

Great version of a Portuguese classic dish. Original recipe was on a Pingo Doce bag of Fried Matchstick Potatoes.

  • 400g bacalhau desfiado (dried salted fish off the bone and in small pieces) or 500g of the frozen version which is ready to use no soaking needed.
  • 5 Tablespoons of Olive oil
  • 2 fresh bay leaves (or 3 dried ones)
  • 3 medium onions sliced thinly
  • 1 head of garlic, all cloves peeled and sliced as thinly as you can
  • Ground pepper
  • 400g good quality Pala pala (fried matchstick potatoes)
  • 6 eggs
  • Small bunch of parsley chopped well
  • 12 – 18 black olives


  1. If using the dried fish, 24 hours before making the dish put the dried salted fish into a bowl with cold water just covering it and put into the fridge.
  2. 12 hours before using taste a little of the fish, if still very salty, drain the fish and put in new water for the following 12 hours. If OK just leave it.
  3. Drain the soaked bacalhau into a sieve and then put it into a saucepan with clean water and bring to the boil, or if using the frozen ready to use version put the frozen fish into hot water and bring to the boil. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes until just done, then drain and leave to cool.
  4. When cool sort through by hand removing any bones and skin and making sure the fish pieces are all around the same small size.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large wok to medium/low heat, put in the bay leaves to fry for a few seconds then add the sliced onions and slowly fry them until they are translucent, about half an hour. Then add the garlic, again fry very gently until the onions start to go a golden brown, around another 15 – 30 minutes.
  6. You can at this stage turn off the heat and leave the mixture ready until just before you want to serve up the meal.
  7. Break all the eggs into a bowl add a good pinch of ground pepper and beat together well.
  8. Add the cooked bacalhau to the frying onion and garlic mixture to warm the fish through, and fry for about a minute over medium heat.
  9. Add the matchstick potatoes and keep them moving about in the pan to warm through.
  10. When thoroughly warm add the beaten egg mixture and keep mixing around until the egg mixture is just set (remember it will continue cooking in the hot pan for the next few minutes).
  11. Take the pan off the heat and mix in the chopped parsley.
  12. Finally sprinkle the olives on top and serve immediately.

Best served with some version of a hot sauce (not a smokey one).



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