How to Make Fish Cutlets
What’s Round, Coated in Breadcrumbs and Tastes Amazing?
Fish cutlets are one of Sri Lanka’s most popular snacks, on par only with fish patties. Cutlets might not be a Sri Lankan invention – but just like other imported recipes, cutlets have been given their own character by generations of Sri Lankans cooking them in their own style.
Like patties, fish cutlets are usually served at special occasions like school functions, weddings, birthday parties and holidays. I can’t even imagine a Christmas party at home without cutlets. In Sri Lanka we like to serve cutlets as a breakfast, as snack/ short eat or as a bite together with beer, whiskey or old arrack. All over Sri Lanka you can find cutlets for sale. When I lived in Sri Lanka, my favorite places to have breakfast were the cafés of Perera & Sons. They really know how to make cutlets and you can find their stores all around Colombo and Negombo.
Cutlets are most commonly found in Sri Lanka in the form of fish cutlets, but there are vegetarian cutlet recipes and meat cutlets as well. This fish cutlet recipe can be prepared with fresh tuna as well as with canned tuna. If you’re using fresh tuna, simply cook it according to step 1 of the instructions. Personally, I prefer to use canned tuna for my cutlets.
250g tuna (fresh or canned)
250g potato, boiled and mashed
2 medium onions
2 green chili peppers
1 branch karapincha (curry leaves)
1 inch rampe (pandan leaf)
2 cardamom cloves
250 g bread crumbs
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt to taste
- If you’re using fresh tuna, boil it with a quarter cup of water, one branch of curry leaves (karapincha), 1 pinch of turmeric and 3 pinches of salt on low flame until the water has completely evaporated.
- Mash the tuna in a bowl.
- Cut the onion, curry leaves and 2 green chilli peppers separately into small pieces.
- Heat 4 table spoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan.
- Add the onion pieces, the curry leaf pieces and rampe (pandan leaf). Heat on medium flame for 5 minutes.
- Add the green chilli pepper pieces and cardamom cloves. Fry on medium flame until light brown.
- Add the mashed tuna and fry for 5 minutes on low flame.
- Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of black pepper. Fry for 7 minutes on low flame.
- Add the mashed potato and let it all cool down.
- Form balls of about 1 inch diameter by hand. Make sure to remove the pandan leaves and cardamom cloves while you’re making the balls.
- Beat 3 eggs in a bowl and dip each ball in the bowl, then roll it in bread crumbs.
- Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to cover the balls you made. Once the oil is hot, add the balls one by one and fry them until they’re golden brown.