Fish patties in herb and lemon sauce Fish patties in herb and lemon sauce Israeli Kitchen Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Fish patties in herb and lemon sauce

Fish cakes made tangy with fresh coriander and lemon.

  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes

I picked up my cookbooks, turning the pages at the fish recipes, looking for something interesting and different. I found it in fish cakes lightly stewed in a sauce of coriander leaves and preserved lemon.

The combination of onions, plenty of coriander and lemons, mellowed together with a little pungent turmeric, makes a most delicious tangy sauce for the light fish cakes. We loved the dish. I had to promise the Little One that I’d make it again, many times.


    For the sauce

  • 1 large onion, chopped into large dice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • The skin of 1 pickled lemon, coarsely chopped (lacking that, peel a fresh lemon and chop the flesh)
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • For the fish cakes

  • 2 pounds white fish, either filleted or ground
  • 1 slice of white bread (covered in cold water till wet through, then squeezed as dry as possible between your hands till you have damp ball)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, or 1/4 tsp. freshly grated
  • 4 tablespoons rinsed, chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 egg


First, make the sauce. Use your biggest frying pan. Pour the olive oil into it and get it hot.

Fry the onions in the olive oil until they become translucent.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients and sauté everything until it’s all quite soft. Remove from the flame, to be reheated when the fish cakes are ready to cook.

Now, prepare the fish.

If you are using whole fillets, whizz them in the food processor, but don’t put them in until you have already processed the moist bread, onions, seasonings and egg.

When those are very well chopped, then add the fish. Make sure there’s no skin, or you’ll have to fish out rags of skin from the puréed mass afterwards, and that’s no fun.

Process only until everything is well chopped and blended.

If you’re using ground fish, just mix the onions, seasonings and egg up and mix them into the fish, beating well.

Reheat the sauce, then turn the flame down to low.

With wet hands, form thick patties about 2″ across. Put them into the hot sauce and let them cook for 15-20 minutes.

Check after 10 minutes; if each patty has a little “skirt” of egg around it, turn them over.

It doesn’t take long to finish cooking. Check after 5 minutes; the underside should be golden and maybe starting to stick to the pan.

Serve with rice, steamed green beans, and sliced tomatoes for a pretty presentation and satisfying meal.

Adapted from 'The Book of Jewish Food' by Claudia Roden

Related Topics: Fish

Recipes from the Israeli KitchenRecipes from the Israeli Kitchen