Fried Gefilte Fish seem to be a singularly British Jewish food, made with minced fish, onions and spices and fried for a lovely crisp on the outside, soft on the inside bite. They are extremely addictive, once you get over the horror of fish having balls of course, à la, Robin Williams in “Good Morning Vietnam”!
About a year ago, I posted a recipe for the traditional Gefilte fish, and as I explained then, the word Gefilte means “stuffed fish” in Yiddish, and this is how you say it:
Gelfite = gə-ˈfil-tə-(guh-fil-tuh)
In the year that I worked in North London, in a very Jewish area, the fried versions were the ones that I was most familiar with; my lunch was very often fried gefilte fish balls, some freshly made falafels and also Sabih (Sabich), a pita sandwich of boiled eggs and eggplants, all three still making my list of favourite foods! Imagine my surprise on my first trip to Israel, when all I could find were the traditional, poached kinds as in this post. It was only when I got back to London that I discovered that the fried versions are apparently, a very British Jewish tradition.
My fried recipe is exactly as the poached one, the only difference is of course, in the cooking! It’s always a good idea to use different types of fish, a minimum of two but 3 or 4 is ideal – this gives different dimensions of flavours to your final product. For more pictures of the minced fish and the final gefilte fish paste, have a look at the traditional gefilte fish recipe.
Serve hot or cold with a green salad, great for picnics, lunch boxes and definitely at parties as finger food!
Try serving each one at the end of a cocktail stick with some cucumber and cherry tomato with a spicy mayo dip on the side. Just add a little chilli sauce to some mayo and mix it up – done!
You might also be interested in my other Middle Eastern recipes.
If you have any comments or just want to say hi, leave me a comment below!
- 500 g white fish a mix (haddock, cod, hake)
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 40-50 g matzo meal
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- dash white pepper
- enough light olive oil for frying
- Pulse the fish a few times until the fish is finely chopped/minced, being careful not to turn it into a paste. Place in a large bowl.
- Add the onion to the fish in the bowl.
- Sprinkle most of the the matzo meal (leaving about a tbsp), sugar, salt and pepper all over the fish and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Add the egg and mix thoroughly, binding it well. Finish it off with your hands lightly, no squeezing the paste. If it's too soft, add a little more matzo to firm up.
- Make 12 small-ish sized fishballs from the mix, leaving just a pinch of the paste aside to test the oil.
- Add some oil in a wok or a frying pan up to a depth of at least 2.5cm/1 inch and let it heat up on medium heat.
- Add a little of the fish paste and if it rises up immediately, the oil is hot enough. Fry the fish balls in two batches for about 3-4 minutes, turning them a few times until medium brown. They'll keep cooking and turning a shade darker after they're out for a bit longer, so don't let them get too brown in the oil.