coriander fish balls in tomato sauce
Fish balls are such a great alternative to meatballs — they’re just as easy to make, but are much lighter. Although I’ve already shared two recipes on the blog for fish balls (these lemon cod cakes and these za’atar spiced cod patties), here’s one more to add to my repertoire. Cooked in tomato sauce and stuffed with fresh coriander, these fish balls are packed with flavor and are so quick to put together. We never get bored of having them!
You can make these fish balls using any white fish, but I find that they work best with whiting fish — a member of the cod family. I find that whiting is much softer than cod, making it the perfect fish to use to form fish balls. Whiting goes beautifully well with a tomato sauce, especially when spiced with Moroccan-inspired ingredients.
Grinding the fish in a food processor is the best way to go for this recipe, as it will create a homogenous and smooth mixture that can be easily formed into balls. Packed with fresh coriander and spiced with a bit of nutmeg, the fish balls are cooked in a paprika-spiced tomato sauce until fragrant and soft. You’ll know that the fish balls are ready once they’re easily breakable with a fork, but don’t let them cook too long either — whiting tends to fall apart pretty easily when overcooked.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons mild paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like spicy)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 200ml tomato purée
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- Salt and pepper
- 1 onion
- 400g whiting fish fillets (or any white flesh fish like cod or tilapia)
- 1½ tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
- Pinch of nutmeg
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion with the paprika (and cayenne pepper if using) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic clove and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomato purée, tomato paste, water, fresh coriander, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let the sauce cook for 5 more minutes.
- Meanwhile make the fish balls in a food processor. Chop the onion in the food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Grind for 1 minute until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and look like a paste.
- Form the fish mixture into balls and place them in the tomato sauce, making sure that they aren't touching one another. Cover the skillet and let the fish balls simmer in the sauce for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes to cover them in the sauce. Serve warm.