Fried Gefilte Fish Recipe (a British Jewish Recipe)

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.
Fish balls with pink sauce
Fish balls on a plate with pink sauce
Fried Gefilte Fish

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.

fish balls, fine dining, white plate
Fine dining with fried gefilte fish

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 bee 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:

  1. mince the fish
  2. make the fishball paste by mixing all the ingredients
  3. form the fishballs
  4. fry the balls in hot oil

Super easy!

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.

Fishballs in cocktail glasses
Fried Gefilte Fish served at the end of a tiny fork, in cocktail glasses

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?

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

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Fish balls with pink sauce

Fried Gefilte Fish – a British Jewish Tradition

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.
5 from 77 votes
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: British Jewish
Keyword: jewish, kosher
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 (Makes 12)
Calories: 304kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor

Ingredients

  • 500  (1.1 lb) white fish a mix haddock, cod, hake
  • small onion finely chopped
  • 40-50  (1½ oz) matzo meal
  • tsp  white sugar
  • tsp  salt
  • egg lightly beaten
  • dash white pepper
  • enough light olive oil or vegetable oil for frying don’t have to be deep fried

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 563mg | Potassium: 584mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 109IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

25 thoughts on “Fried Gefilte Fish Recipe (a British Jewish Recipe)”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for our garden party yesterday, Lin and served them at room temperature, complete with the sauce. Everybody loved it. Especially my Jewish friend from north London!

  2. 5 stars
    Just like dad showed me 40 years ago , I had forgotten the technique. Thank you. John bell of bell’s famous fisheries

    1. A pleasure. Thanks, John, I notice you guys aren’t too far away from me. I didn’t even know there was a fresh fish source near me, I must pop down.

  3. Morag Hervé

    5 stars
    2020….’COVID’….almost Christmas!
    Made these yesterday for returning from the park with our grandchildren. Incredible! Thank you for sharing. Now, hot chocolate and games. Merry Christmas and a healthy new year!
    Mo Hervé. xx

    1. Hi Tony, if you mean for this recipe, vegetable oil or light olive oil meant for frying with. Vegetable oil can be corn oil or rapeseed oil (known as canola oil in the US).

      1. Tony Oliver

        Thanks Azlin – I’m cooking both boiled and fried gefilte fish for 12 people this coming Sunday – wish me luck!

  4. 5 stars
    It looks like satsumaage (regional Japanese fried minced fish balls with sugar). I’ve never had horseradish with beets, and that sauce looks marvelous. I’m mind tasting the sauce over rice without sugar!

  5. I love the sound of these! Do you have a recipe for the chrain sauce somewhere on your blog? It sounds like it would be delicious with all sorts of things.

    1. Thanks Lisa, I don’t have recipe for it. You just need to grate some beetroot into a readymade horseradish sauce, and lighten with some lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Add a little sugar if you need it.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Azlin, I’m planning to make this to take to nan’s tomorrow. A friend of mine mentioned that you can also make the chrein with mayonnaise. Do you have any experience with that? Thanks.

    1. Hi Anita, mayonnaise adds a wonderful, creamy flavour to the chrain. You could try adding a little at a time, until you are happy with the flavour. Still keep the beetroot, if you are mixing the two.

  7. Ronnie Samuelson

    5 stars
    Great stuff, looking forward to trying it out. I remember eating this as a child in the UK.

  8. Shelli Mansfeld

    Thank you very much for the great recipe – exactly as my late Mum used to make – three kinds of white fish. They make it differently here in Israel where I live.

    1. A pleasure, thank you, Shelli. I remember seeing the poached variety the first time I was in Israel and couldn’t find the fried ones at all! And no one had heard of them!

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