Fish koftas

Fish koftas

Reza’s Indian Spice

The flavours here are intense yet delicate and the sauce a beautiful orange colour from the saffron. The sauce can be served separately, as a dip, or the koftas can be mixed into the sauce and served with Saffron Rice.

For the sauce


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons ghee
1 black cardamom pod, crushed
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
6 tomatoes, liquidised
pinch saffron threads, steeped in 1 tbsp hot milk
8 tablespoons yogurt, whisked with 2 tbsp water

For the fish

Quantity Ingredient
240ml whole milk
4-6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 black cardamom pod
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
500g white fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1 large potato, cooked and diced
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon roughly chopped root ginger
1 large green chilli
2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves, plus more to serve
1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted, plus more to serve
1 tablespoon gram flour
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil, to deep-fry


  1. For the sauce, heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom and onion and cook until the onion turns a pale gold. Now add the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the turmeric, cumin, chilli powder and garam masala and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes, allowing the ghee to separate. If the mixture starts to stick to the pan, add a dash of water and continue to stir-fry for a few more seconds. Add the tomatoes, the saffron and its milk and salt to taste, then stir and simmer for a couple more minutes. Gradually add the yogurt and simmer for a further three to four minutes. Squeeze out the seeds from the cardamom pod and discard the husk. Pour the sauce into a blender and liquidise until smooth.
  2. Now, for the fish, bring the milk, cardamom pods, turmeric and ground cumin to the boil in a heavy-based pan. Poach the fish fillets in this for three minutes on either side, drain, discarding the milk, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Leave to cool. Now remove the cardamom pods and add the potato.
  3. Blend the onion, ginger and green chilli with 1 tbsp of water to a smooth paste in a liquidiser. Add this to the fish mixture along with all the other ingredients except the oil. Knead well together and form into balls, each the size of a ping-pong ball. (If the mixture is sticky, moisten your hands with water before forming the koftas.)
  4. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep, heavy-based pan or wok until it begins to sizzle. Reduce the heat and drop the fish balls into the oil a few at a time, turning them frequently and frying to an even golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Put the koftas into a dish and pour the reheated sauce over. Sprinkle with coriander and almonds and serve.
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