Fry Jacks (beignets from Belize) at the Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy'Ono Resort
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With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation. All week (and all summer) long, we’ll bring you transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world, so you can take your tastebuds on a trip and give your mind a mini vacation while you’re still at home. Here, get an easy five-ingredient Belizean fry jack recipe that’s sure to be a fave if you love beignets (or doughnuts in general).

Depending on where you are in the country, mornings in Belize may start with the sound of the waves crashing along the Caribbean coastline or the sound of howler monkeys playing in the dense jungle canopies. Regardless of location, all breakfast tables look the same in Belize…loaded up with piping hot piles of fry jacks.

Fry jacks are a staple in Belize, where locals eat them dusted with powdered sugar for breakfast or topped with melted cheese for lunch. Some stuff the airy centers full of ground beef to make a portable sandwich for the beach, while purists use them for mopping up puddles of refried beans on their breakfast plates. Made from a versatile dough that can be prepared overnight, these breakfast treats are sliced in either half-moon or triangular shapes before getting deep fried until the outside is golden and crispy and the inside is soft and light.

“They are one of the most celebrated Belizean breakfast foods and enjoyed throughout the entire country,” says Renee Everett, chef at Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy’Ono Resort in Belize. “I’ve been eating this dish my entire life as they are made with five simple ingredients, do not take very long to cook, and yet they are incredibly delicious. A traditional Belizean breakfast of fry jacks is served either sweet or savory. Either way, it’s a must-eat while in Belize.”

Check out this simple and delicious recipe for Chef Everett’s famous fry jacks and get the true taste of a Belizean breakfast wherever you may be!

Belizean Fry Jacks

Serves: 8
  • 3 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • Oil for frying
  1. Add flour in a bowl and make a dent in the center to add other ingredients, then add all ingredients leaving water for last, incorporating the water slowly until the dough begins to form a ball.
  2. Knead until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together and dough is smooth (approximately 5 minutes), and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into four even size balls, and then roll each out into a large circle on a flat surface using a rolling pin. Cut each circle in half with a sharp knife, and then cut a slit in the center of each half circle, leaving about an inch on each edge (this will help the fry jacks cook evenly).
  4. Heat an 8-inch frying pan and fill it halfway with oil. When oil is hot, place dough into the frying pan. When the fry jack has puffed up or turns light brown, flip to the opposite side and continue to let the fry jack cook until it is light brown on both sides (approximately one minute).
  5. Prepare a container lined with a paper towel to absorb the oil, and place fry jacks on it when done.
  6. Serve with honey, powdered sugar, and jam, or with a side of refried beans and scrambled eggs.

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Header image and fry jack recipe image courtesy of Copal Tree Lodge

Kristy Alpert is a freelance travel and food writer on the hunt for the obscure and untold stories around the world. Her passion for savoring the local flavor of a destination has led to her unearthing bread baking secrets on Muhu Island to chiseling ancient ice for martinis in Antarctica. Kristy has won numerous international awards for her writing. See her bylines in Cosmopolitan, Food & Wine, Men’s Health, Fodor’s Travel, American Way, and more.
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