My mom’s friend, Auntie F, made some of the best and spiciest food. Her Sri Lankan recipes were always a treat. Sometimes she would bring over fish balls. Magical. Few years back I got a craving for those Sri Lankan Fish Balls and started looking up recipes. I didn’t find the fish ball recipe but came upon recipes for Sri Lankan Fish Patties. These looked simple enough and I decided to give them a try. I have made this recipe dozens of times over the years and people love them. My friends usually don’t eat just one but will munch through three to five without even noticing how many they’ve gone through. They pair very well with that lemony mint chutney that I’m always talking about.
I adapted the recipe from a very unassuming food blog, Things That Work For Me. We want to promote this concept here on the Samosawallah. We want to share our recipes and want to encourage people to adapt them to something that works for you. Whether it’s heating up a can of prepared soup or baking macaroons from scratch, cook and share the food that’s easy, simple and nutritious.
I made the fish patties recipe even easier by using frozen empanada shells. I buy these at a local grocery store (shout out to Mi Tierra Berkeley) in Berkeley (good place for produce, too). Get the frozen empanada shells that are for baking, not for frying. And let them thaw for 12 hours before cooking.
Another fear that some may have is that this recipe may have a canned tuna taste. Trust me, it shan’t. You can eat these warm or cold and they work well for just about any meal.
I never ended up making those delicious fish balls that auntie would make. Maybe because these fish patties have become one of my primary dishes when I’m preparing for a potluck or an easy snack dish to have on hand. During Ramadan, these are great for iftar or suhoor and are guaranteed to get you complements from your friends and family.
- 15-20 ounces canned tuna/salmon, drained.
- 1 large onion diced finely.
- 5-10 green thai chili peppers chopped finely.
- 3-4 large potatoes peeled and chopped.
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder.
- 2 stalks green onion chopped finely.
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 teaspoons chili powder.
- 1-2 tablespoons oil.
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste.
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste.
- 3-4 curry leaves (optional)
- 40-50 frozen empanada shells, thawed.
- Boil the potatoes in hot water, long enough to roughly smash them. No need to make creamy mashed potatoes here.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a frying pan, add the oil over medium heat. Fry the onions for 5 minutes, long enough to get them slightly brown.
- Add the green onions, chili peppers, curry leaves, salt and pepper and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic pastes as well as the turmeric and chili powder.
- Add the contents of the frying pan to the roughly mashed potatoes. Also add the fish and mix together really well.
- Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture into each empanada shell and seal with your fingers.
- Bake on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve with Mint Chutney.