Fried Gefilte Fish, a singularly British Jewish food, is made with minced fish, onions and spices, and fried, for a lovely, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside bite.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The Traditional Recipe
About a year ago, I posted a recipe for the traditional Gefilte fish. 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)
Today’s recipe is based on that, but instead of poaching the fishballs, we fry them.
Fried Gefilte Fish in Golders Green
My Jewish culinary education took place in the year that I worked in Golders Green in North London, a very Jewish area. I fell in love with both types of gefilte fish, and with Jewish food, generally. The fried gefilte fish has been a favourite since then.
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 after that trip, that I discovered that the fried versions are, apparently, a very British Jewish tradition.
Homemade Fried Gefilte Fish
Our fried fishball 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 recipe.
This is what we’ll be doing:
- mince the fish
- make the fishball paste by mixing all the ingredients
- form the fishballs
- fry the balls in hot oil
They will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Just take them out 2 hours before serving to allow the fried gefilte fish to come to room temperature. No need to reheat.
How to Serve
- like the poached version, this is also popularly served with Chrain, the spicy mix of horseradish and beet.
- these are traditionally served at room temperature. I often eat them straight out of the fridge the next day.
- it’s also great for picnics
- add it to lunch boxes
- they also make great finger food at parties
This fried gefilte fish is a pretty straightforward recipe: make the paste, form balls, then fry! Shall we get our aprons on?
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Fried Gefilte Fish – a British Jewish Tradition
- 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 or vegetable oil for frying don’t have to be deep fried
- 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.
- When done, take them out of the hot oil and place on a kitchen paper lined plate, to absorb excess oil.You can serve them hot if you like, but these are traditionally served at room temperature.