Deep-fried Sri Lankan fish cutlets, a spicy, savoury bite, perfect for any time of the day.
your party spread just wouldn’t be the same without these appetizers.
Making fish cutlets(croquettes)at home.
Have you ever seen a plate of fish cutlets return with at least one left?
Nope, I didn’t think so.
Even when they lose the crispy coating after a few hours in the open, they are still the best Sri Lankan short eats you can serve.
You can’t go wrong with these fish croquettes and I don’t need to write how popular these mini bites really are among both adults and kids.
There’s a reason why these savory bites are so popular, not only are they budget-friendly, they can feed a crowd.
Although there’s some prep work involved, it’s still an easy appetizer to serve.
Workflow to make spicy fish
As I wrote earlier there’s some prep work involved in making fish cutlets, they come together in five stages.
1/you need to make the mixture for the cutlets using potatoes, fish and a few other ingredients.
2/ make them into firm balls.
3/give them a thorough soak in a beaten egg.
4/coat them with breadcrumbs.
Here’s an easy way to get all the prep work done, ask your kids to help you out.
This way, you can have an assembly line. although having them shoulder to shoulder has the potential of starting off an argument, it’s still worth the extra hands.
I made these cutlets all on my own, it’s so not worth the drama.
Why do fish cutlets crack while deep frying?
I have burned, cracked cutlets too many times and it didn’t take me long to find out the culprit.
Onions, if they are too big or too close to the coat that covers the cutlets, they tend to crack the fish balls open.
Maybe it’s the water in the onions being exposed to oil that causes this?
Once I started chopping the onions into smaller pieces and pushing them in while forming the balls, my fish cutlets stopped cracking.
Before starting the blog I tested it without any thought except to stop my croquettes from cracking open once they hit the oil.
I needed to be sure, so while making these fish cutlets I tested the theory by keeping some of the onions in the cutlets close to the outer surface.
If you look at the images, you’ll notice some of them are almost cracked, these are the ones with the onions close to the surface of the balls.
Beginner’s tips on making fish
I’ve already written one reason why your fish cutlets might crack but there are a few other reasons why it happens.
- the right temperature of the oil should be a priority.
The oil should not be smoking, one way to check if the oil has reached the correct temperature is to add a few breadcrumbs, once they start to sizzle, start frying the cutlets.
If you feel the oil temperature is too hot and it’s frying the fish cutlets too fast and burning them, reduce heat to low and then control the temperature as you need.
- Make sure you are using enough oil to completely submerge the fish cutlets.
When you add them to the oil, this helps to evenly distribute temperature as they fry.
- Do not use a flat-bottomed frying pan but instead a concaved bottomed(thachi or rounded-deep bottomed pan).
- fry them in batches, yes but don’t overcrowd them.
I usually start with three and when I’ve got the handle of multitasking, I move on to four and sometimes five.
Can I make the fish cutlets ahead and fry them just in time to serve?
If you know you need to make them ahead, then make sure to cook the potato and onion mixture, the problem of making them ahead is again the onions in the mixture, they tend to let out liquid and if you keep the raw cutlets made, you’ll notice they’ve become soggy after a few hours.
By cooking the onions, you are actually removing a certain amount of liquid from it.
Most cutlet recipes have the fish, onion, potato mixture cooked, why isn’t yours?
1/I’ve always made the fish cutlets this way, you can certainly cook them if you want to.
2/I’m just being practical and keeping things simple and easy, there are already five stages of making the cutlets to frying them, I don’t actually need a sixth one to complete these savories.
Besides, they end up being deep-fried, do I really need to cook them twice?
Unless of course, I’m making them ahead which rarely happens because once they hit the plate, a few hungry hands and mouths tend to finish them off.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you make this recipe for your family. if you enjoyed it, please let me know, if you feel the recipe needs a few tweaks, even then, drop me a message.
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Can I use tuna flakes instead of
Workflow for making fish cutlets.
If you are making the recipe for the first time or a large batch(over 35)then it’s best to be a bit organized.
As I wrote earlier, there are about 5 stages of making these cutlets so having a workflow really helps in getting these cutlets served crispy just a few minutes from being made.
How to avoid sticky breadcrumb
How many cutlets can I make?
You can make about 30 cutlets.
Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.
2 large potatoes equal to 250g
1 can of Jack mackerel/large tin-425g
1 large onion chopped into very fine pieces(important)
2 green chillies chopped(the more you add the spicier it gets so adjust accordingly)
1 tablespoon of pepper
Salt to season
For the coating
2 cups of breadcrumbs
oil to fry
Slice the onions into smaller pieces and chop the green chillies as well, set them aside.
Fill a cooking pan with water to boil the potatoes, fill the water just enough to cover them and boil until the potatoes are soft enough that a fork can go through.
30-45 minutes over medium fire.
Once the potatoes are boiled tender, let them cool and then peel off the skin. using a fork, crush the potatoes.
What you want is not completely mashed potatoes but with a few small lumps.
Before mixing the ingredients, keep in mind, you’ll be using green chillies, flaky fish that need to be formed into balls, you might need to wear disposable gloves if you prefer your hands not to carry the smell of fish.
Drain the fish from the can and add it to the mashed potatoes. season with salt, pepper, lime and add the chopped onions and green chillies to the mix, combine all the ingredients well. 2-4 minutes. taste to check if the season is to your liking, season if necessary, once you are done with the mixture, it should be mixed enough that they form balls easily.
Set a platter, large enough to hold all the fish cutlets close to the mix, to make the same size balls, use a standard tablespoon and form balls with the mixture. see notes about why you need to chop onions into smaller pieces.
Once the fish balls are done. it’s time to coat and crumb them.
Take two wide mouth containers, use one of the containers for the beaten eggs, the other to hold the breadcrumbs.
Coat the fish and potato balls first in egg(see notes on how to avoid sticky breadcrumb fingers), move it so that the eggs coat the ball completely then transfer to the breadcrumb and coat the balls with it as well. make sure the egg and breadcrumb coating is done well.
The best way to coat the fish balls in breadcrumbs is, as you transfer the balls from the egg to the breadcrumbs, gently roll it around to get the first coating of breadcrumbs, then as you pick up the cutlet make sure you grab a handful of breadcrumbs, turn your hand so the cutlet is in your palm and gently shake your hand side to side with your fingers spread.
This way your hand is working like a strainer for the crumbs while coating the cutlets at the same time. do this at least three times for a fine but firmly packed coating for the cutlets.
Once you are done with coating all the cutlets, it’s time to fry them.
Please keep in mind that oil temperature plays a big part in getting perfectly deep-fried cutlets(see notes about oil temperature and how to fry the cutlets without cracking them).
Set a large bowl with a paper towel to soak in extra oil and fry the cutlets in small batches until they turn golden brown. transfer to the bowl with the paper towels.
For better taste serve while they are still warm.
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