Mar 242013

image spicy moroccan fish balls

I kind of want to call this Sephardic gefilte fish.

Looking for a Passover  fish recipe and a little bored with my usual ones, I was glad to find this  in last December’s Al HaShulchan magazine. I modified it to include somewhat less chili.  The tender, juicy morsels are cooked in a soupy sauce, sort of like gefilte fish, but Eastern Europe never knew the olive oil, garlic and chili that give this dish its huge flavor kick. Not to mention plenty of cilantro – you’ll need a bunch and a half.

And it’s entirely kosher for Passover. The Little One liked it so much, she asked me to cook it for the Seder. Happy to oblige, darlin’ daughter.

In the meantime, let me wish you a happy and a kosher Passover, reader. This year in Jerusalem!

Spicy Moroccan Fish Balls KFP

Serves 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a main dish – easily doubled


For the fish balls:

500 grams – 1 lb. ground grey mullet

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 small red onion

1/4 cup grated potato

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 thinly-sliced white onion

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly

1/2 hot green pepper

Peeled cloves of 1 garlic bulb

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups water

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lemon, peeled and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until soft, stirring. Over medium heat, this should take about 3 minutes. Add the paprika and tomato paste. Cook 1 more minute.

Add the water, cilantro, lemon and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook 20 minutes over medium heat. Taste and adjust seasoning.

About 10 minutes into the time the sauce is cooking, assemble the fish balls.

Either pulse the fish ball ingredients in the food processor, or mix with a wooden spoon. Either way, don’t work it so hard that it forms a paste. You want a light, almost crumbly mixture.

With your hands, lightly knead the mixture for half a minute. According to Al HaShulchan, the heat of your hands will bind the ingredients together. Form balls the size of ping-pong balls and set aside in a cool place.

Check the consistency of the sauce. If you like it soupy, it’ll be ready in 20 minutes cooking time. If you want it thicker, cook it down some more. When you feel the sauce is to your taste, gently place the fish balls into it and cook 10 minutes.

Serve as an appetizer for the Big Meal. Although it makes a fine, light main dish for 4 also.






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  4 Responses to “Spicy Moroccan Fish Balls – Kosher for Passover”

  1. This looks like a delicious recipe. I’ve never seen mullet in my area (California). Do you know of a good substitute?
    Thanks and Chag Sameach-

  2. Tobie, any blue fish will do. Like striped bass or flounder. Hope you make this fish! And chag sameach to you too.

  3. I tried it and it was indeed wonderful. It even freezes nicely so we ate it twice. However, grey mullet (boori) was kind of expensive (I totally freaked out the fishmonger asking him to grind me a kilo but he did it), about 50 NIS. What other kinds of fish might work for this (with Hebrew names, please.I can’t ask for blue fish. No idea what I’d end up with)?

  4. Hi Yehudit, and apologies for not replying sooner. A mixture of sole and tilapia (sol and amnon) would make nice fish balls.

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