Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets (the recipe)

Here is the recipe for Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets that I promised earlier.

I love these delicious fish cakes, or fish cutlets. This is the best way to use the humble tinned tuna, I promise! Serve them as snacks, or perhaps in sandwiches. I had them with thin slices of raw red onion, and it worked just great, though I must admit I usually really don’t like raw onion.

UPDATE 22 May 2010: I made the fish cakes with coriander, instead of curry leaves, and lemon instead of lime juice. I also add about a tbsp of dessicated coconut. It worked great!





Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets


SOURCE:  Jasmine

PREPARATION TIME: about 15 min


CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 (makes about 14 – 15 6 cm wide fishcakes) 



2 medium potatoes, cubed

2 tins of tuna

½ medium red onion, chopped finely

2 – 3 green chillies, chopped finely, deseeded if you wish

A few springs of curry leaves, shredded (I used 4, but I like curry leaves a lot)

½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground (or coarsely ground cumin and black pepper mixture)

½ tsp or more Sri Lankan chili powder

2 tbsp breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating

Lime juice to taste (start with ½ lime, and add more if you want)


2 medium eggs, beaten (or one large, with a little bit of water stirred in)

Oil for deep frying





1.      Boil the potatoes until soft. When they’re done, drain the potatoes and leave to cool in the sieve. You want the water from the potatoes to evaporate, so do leave them for long enough.

2.      In the meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients except for the salt and lime juice, and mix them in a bowl. When the potatoes have cooled down, mash them and add to the mixture in the bowl. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.

3.      Time to shape the cutlets! Take about a golf-ball sized amount of mixture and roll it into a ball. Next, flatten the ball, dip into the egg, and then into bread crumbs. Do all the cutlets in this way.

4.      Pour oil into a deep pan, or a wok (which is what I used, and what Jasmine uses), and put on medium high. You’ll need enough oil for deep frying, a few centimeters, I’d say. The oil is hot enough when it sizzles when you insert a wooden spoon inside.

5.      Fry the cutlets for a few min on each side, until they’re heated through and the coating is cooked. Enjoy!



More Sri Lankan Food at Maninas:

 The aroma of curry leaves: Sri Lankan cooking (Introduction)

Sri Lankan spices (including recipes for Sri Lankan garam masala, curry powder and more!)

Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and leek with coconut (V)

Sri Lankan coconut dhal (V)

Sri Lankan Pineapple Curry (V)



      This is my entry for this week’s WHB, hosted by Susan from

      The Well-Seasoned Cook.

32 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets (the recipe)

  1. Pingback: Coming soon: Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets « Maninas: Food Matters

    • Thanks. Do try them if you can get some curry leaves. If not, try replacing them with coriander leaves. It won’t taste the same, but the coriander will give you that refreshing herbal note.

  2. Pingback: The aroma of curry leaves. Sri Lankan cooking « Maninas: Food Matters

  3. Pingback: Sri Lankan Spices « Maninas: Food Matters

  4. i live near Thai stores and I can get curry leaves in a heartbeat; what a great recipe to try! I always have extra tins of tuna and very little inspiration on how to use them!
    Thanks for a great idea~

    • The first time I tried these, I thought wow. And the second thought was: ‘This is THE best way of using the humble tinned tuna!’ Let me know what you think if you try it.

    • Last year I had the pleasure of cooking Sri Lankan food with a friend from Sri Lanka, and immediatelly fell in love with it. I will be posting a few more recipes here in the future.

  5. Pingback: Sri Lankan pineapple curry « Maninas: Food Matters

  6. Pingback: Sri Lankan Fish Curry – Meen Kulambu « Maninas: Food Matters

  7. Pingback: Sri Lankan-style chickpeas for Lisa « Maninas: Food Matters

  8. Pingback: Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets with coriander « Maninas: Food Matters

  9. I am so glad I came across this method of making the cutlets. I was looking for a recipe that didn’t involve too many ingredients. I can now make these in my sleep!! Thank you very, very much. They are truly delicious!!

  10. Pingback: Top 10 | Maninas: Food Matters

  11. I had company this weekend and the woman is originally from Sri Lanka. She mentionned fish cutlets and I found this recipe. Therefore, I made these tonight and they were a hit with the family. I made one batch with tuna and baked in the oven, while the other batch made with canned salmon was fried in a bit of oïl in a pan. They were both awesome in their own way. One healthier and the other one, more crispy.

  12. Both methods worked well (oven and pan). I loved these so much that I kept eating them (in serving sizes) day after day. My husband preferred the fried ones, while I preferred the baked in the oven ones (as I am more healthy conscious). Next time, I will try to broil them at the end just to crisp them up a little bit.

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