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fish cutlets(Sri Lankan).

Fish cutlets are a spicy and savory bite, perfect for any time of the day.

your party spread just wouldn’t be the same without these appetizers.

With step by step photos and instructions, you can easily make these fish cutlets at home.

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 fish cutlets 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 cutlets. 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 tasty and budget-friendly, the fish cutlets can also be made in large batches.

Although there’s some prep work involved, it’s still an easy appetizer to make and serve. 

Deep-fried Sri Lankan fish cutlets, served on a plate with a sauce.

Workflow to make spicy fish cutlets.

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.
  • 5/fry them.

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.

Me?

I made these cutlets all on my own, it’s so not worth the drama.

 

crispy fish cutlets coated in egg, breaded and deep fried.

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.

a batch of deep-fried Sri Lankan fish cutlets.
How to freeze fish cutlets.

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 the 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.

Reader question on this:
Most cutlet recipes have the fish, onion, potato mixture cooked, why isn’t yours?

  • I’ve always made the fish cutlets this way, you can certainly cook them if you want to.
  • 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.

Deep-fried Sri Lankan fish cutlets, a spicy, savory bite served a sweet and spicy sauce.

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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.

Beginner’s tips on making fish cutlets.

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.

  • In 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.

First, you’ll need to get the potatoes boiled and ready, you can even do this early, cover and refrigerate.

Mixing all the ingredients doesn’t take time but forming the balls does, so once you’ve made the mixture, find a comfortable seat, have a large enough platter ready and start forming the balls. 

Once you are ready to coat the fish cutlets, keep the egg wash and breadcrumb bowls side by side with a platter at the end.

Can I use tuna cans instead of mackerel?

Yes, you can, as long as they are boneless and flaky you can use any type of firm, flaky canned fish.

How to avoid sticky breadcrumb coated fingers. 

To avoid sticky crumb-coated fingers, use a spoon to, add, roll, dip and scoop the cutlets in eggs and avoid using your hands that’s doing the breadcrumb coating from dipping into the egg. 

Once the coating is done, try to fry them within 30 minutes.

How many cutlets can I make?

You can make about 30 cutlets.

More Sri Lankan savory bites.

Deep-fried fish pattis

Adukku roti(layered meat pie)

Sri Lankan fish rolls(chinese fish roll)

Maggi noodle nuggets

RECIPE DIFFICULTY- A LITTLE CARE NEEDED

How to make fish cutlets(deep-fried fish balls)

Please make sure to read the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.

Ingredients

Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.

2 large potatoes equal to 250g(you can add another large potato to increase the amount of cutlets if you are under a tight budget)

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 lime

1 tablespoon of pepper

Salt to season

To coat and crumb the cutlets

2 large eggs

2 cups of bread crumbs

For the coating

2 cups of breadcrumbs

1 and 1/2 cup oil to fry

Method

Slice the onions(1 large) into smaller pieces and chop the green chillies(2) as well, set them aside.

chopping onions, green chillies to make the fish cutlets.

Fill a cooking pan with water to boil the potatoes(2 large amounting to 250g, you can add an extra potato if you are on a tight budget and want to make more cutlets).

Fill the water just enough to cover them and boil until the potatoes are soft enough that a fork can go through.

boiling the potatoes until soft and crumbly to make the fish cutlets.

30-45 minutes over medium fire.

Once the potatoes are boiled tender, let them cool and then peel off the skin.
Using a fork or your fingers crush the potatoes.

What you want is not completely mashed potatoes but with a few small lumps.

mashing the potatoes to make the cutlets.

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 canned fish(425g, substitute with tuna cans)and add it to the mashed potatoes.

adding the canned fish into the boiled potatoes to make the fish cutlets.

Season with salt(1/2 tsp), pepper(1 tbsp), lime and add the chopped onions and green chilies to the mix.

Combine all the ingredients well. 2-4 minutes.

adding the onions to the fish and potatoes to make the fish balls.

Taste to check if the seasoning is to your liking, adjust by adding pepper, salt and even a little bit of red chilli powder season if necessary.

Once you are done with the mixture, it should be mixed enough that they form balls easily.

Mixing and combining the fish, potatoes, onions to make the fish cutlers.

How to make the cutlet mixture to freeze.

If you are planning to freeze the cutlets, you will need to remove all the moisture from all of the ingredients in the fish cutlets.

To do this you will have to first cook the onions in a little oil until they turn translucent, and then add the cooked potato, fish and the seasoning into the pan with the onions.

Cook over low heat for at least another 5-7 minutes until you have no moisture(cook without adding additional oil).

Remove from fire, let it cool and proceed with the recipe instructions.

Read how to freeze the cutlets with instructions under the same sub heading above.

how to cook the fish cutlet mixture to freeze.

How to shape the fish cutlets.

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.

Form and set the fish balls apart from eachother.

Shaping the fish cutlets into small balls.
How to coat and cover the fish balls on bread crumbs.

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.

egg and breadcrumbs set to bread and coat the fish cutlets.

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.

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.

How to fry the fish cutlets.

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 paper towels.

For better taste serve while they are still warm.

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Yield: 30

Sri Lankan fish cutlets(croquettes).

Deep-fried Sri Lankan fish cutlets, a spicy, savory bite, perfect for any time of the day. your party spread just wouldn't be the same without these appetizers-islandsmile.org

Fish cutlets are a spicy and savory bite, perfect for any time of the day.

your party spread just wouldn’t be the same without these appetizers.

With step-by-step photos and instructions, you can easily make these fish cutlets at home.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes equal to 250g(you can add another large potato to increase the number of cutlets if you are under a tight budget)
  • 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 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper
  • Salt to season
  • To coat and crumb the cutlets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups of bread crumbs
  • 1 and 1/2 cup oil to fry

Instructions

Slice the onions(1 large) into smaller pieces and chop the green chillies(2) as well, set them aside.

Fill a cooking pan with water to boil the potatoes(2 large amounts to 250g, you can add an extra potato if you are on a tight budget and want to make more cutlets).

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 or your fingers 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 canned fish(425g, substitute with tuna cans)and add it to the mashed potatoes.

Season with salt(1/2 tsp), pepper(1 tbsp), lime and add the chopped onions and green chilies to the mix.

Combine all the ingredients well. 2-4 minutes.

Taste to check if the seasoning is to your liking, adjust by adding pepper, salt and even a little bit of red chilli powder season if necessary.

Once you are done with the mixture, it should be mixed enough that they form balls easily.

How to make the cutlet mixture to freeze.

If you are planning to freeze the cutlets, you will need to remove all the moisture from all of the ingredients in the fish cutlets.

To do this you will have to first cook the onions in a little oil until they turn translucent, and then add the cooked potato, fish and seasoning into the pan with the onions.

Cook over low heat for at least another 5-7 minutes until you have no moisture(cook without adding additional oil).

Remove from fire, let it cool and proceed with the recipe instructions.

Read how to freeze the cutlets with instructions under the same subheading above.

How to shape the fish cutlets.

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.

Form and set the fish balls apart from each other.

How to coat and cover the fish balls on bread crumbs.

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.

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.

How to fry the fish cutlets.

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 paper towels.

For better taste serve while they are still warm.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 100mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

Each recipe on this blog has been written with great care and love to the best of my ability with you in mind.
It’s free and on the blog, for you to try anytime.

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Sri Lankan meal plan 2- Rice with a prawn curry cooked in coconut milk, tempered-dry spicy dhal, capsicum with pickled lime sambol, a creamy potato milk curry and a sweet and spicy ambarella curry makes up this five dish menu.-islandsmile.org
Sri Lankan meal plan-2
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