Fish koftas

Dipping fish koftas into mint yogurt sauce

These fish koftas are not your typical koftas because they’re made with fish, not meat. But I spice them the same and shape them the same – so koftas it is!! Serve with Jewelled rice pilaf for a stunning platter of food.

Jewelled rice with fish koftas on a platter ready to be served
Today’s fish koftas with mint yogurt sauce and Jewelled rice pilaf.

Fish koftas

When we think koftas, I know most people instantly think of skewers made with ground meat. But actually, koftas around the world come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, made with meat, fish and even vegetables. From the Indian sub-continent to the Middle East, Africa and the south-eastern area of Europe known as the Balkans, koftas come grilled, poached, steamed and baked with all sorts of various flavours, and all sorts of shapes. Not always on sticks!!

As for today’s fish koftas though, I’ve taken the lead from my Lamb Koftas in terms of flavouring, except we’re using fish instead. And I’ve stuck with sticks!!

Good Friday meat-free platter

Today’s recipe was specifically created to be part of a centrepiece meat-free dish for Easter Good Friday this year. Something a little different yet spectacular to look at and mouthwateringly delicious! Plus, I always like to share interesting-yet-easy ways with fish. Pan frying fish fillets gets dull. 😎

Overhead photo of Jewelled rice with fish koftas
Fish koftas on a platter

Economical fish recipe

The other thing I like about this recipe is that it can be made with virtually any fish, and it’s not one of those recipes where I (strongly!) urge you to use the freshest and best fish you can afford. It works great with good value fish, even frozen fish.

Though, if you’ve got a fisherman in your circles – I’m jealous!

What you need for fish koftas

Here’s what you need for these fish koftas.

Ingredients in Fish koftas
  • White fish fillets – Pretty much any white fish will work here, except very lean fish (tuna, swordfish) and “fishy-fish” like sardines and mackerel (use this recipe for sardines, it’s a personal favourite!). I used snapper, barramundi and ling during various iterations of this recipe and they all worked great.

  • Egg and rice flour (or cornflour/cornstarch) – These are the two ingredients that make the blitzed fish mixture hold together, with the egg acting as a binder once the koftas are cooked.

    Rice flour makes the inside of the kofta softer and juicier than plain flour (all-purpose flour) which makes it more dense. If you don’t have rice flour, use cornflour / cornstarch instead which will produces a similar result.

  • Spices – Regular spices, exotic combination! Cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon (this is the secret spice that makes it smell so intoxicating).

  • Danish feta – Little pops of creamy, salty goodness when you bite into the koftas! Not strictly traditional in any type of koftas, but certainly adds a touch of special here. Also, it improves the texture of the koftas to make up for the absence of fat in fish compared to meat like lamb.

    Danish vs Greek feta – Greek feta is more crumbly and firm whereas Danish feta is a bit creamy, more similar to goats cheese feta. Either Greek feta or goats cheese can be substituted in a heart beat.

  • Red onion For freshness without being as harsh as brown or white onion. I grate the onion so you don’t have to cook it before mixing in, and also the juices from the onion adds even more flavour into the koftas. (Onion grating is my secret reader-loved tip for meatballs, meatloaf and similar. It really works!)

  • Parsley – For green bits. More visual than flavour so you can skip it. Or, substitute red onion with green onion instead.

Showing the inside of Fish koftas
A trick for soft, juicy insides for fish koftas (other than not overcooking!) is rice flour rather than plain/all-purpose flour.

How to make fish koftas

Blitz > shape > cook!

How to make Fish koftas
  1. Fish and egg first – Cut the fish into pieces then put in a food processor with the egg white only (add the yolk to your scrambled eggs tomorrow morning).

  2. Blitz fish until it’s a smooth paste without any lumps remaining.

  3. Everything else – Add all the remaining kofta ingredients.

  4. Blitz again until you can’t see the rice flour.

How to make Fish koftas
  1. Feta – Fold through the feta gently, so it doesn’t disintegrate and smear. We want little chunks of feta!

  2. Shape koftas – Use wet hands so the mixture doesn’t stick. Portion the mixture into 10 – 12 (70g each, about 1/3 cup), and shape into a 10cm / 4″ long cylinder. Thread onto skewers then slightly flatten so they are 2 cm / 4/5″ thick.

  3. Cook half the koftas in a non stick pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 50°C/122°F.

  4. Golden! This is the colour they should be. Gorgeous!! Remove onto a plate then cook the remaining koftas.

Dipping fish koftas into mint yogurt sauce

Jewelled rice with fish koftas

How to serve fish koftas

As mentioned in the opening, these fish koftas were created especially for Easter Good Friday, a day on which it is traditional to serve non-meat food. To be honest, the star recipe for Good Friday was the Jewelled rice pilaf I shared on Monday – it’s so colourful, how could it not steal the limelight!!

But I wanted a non-meat main to serve alongside it that was equally as delicious, even if it couldn’t rival the colour. Enter – these fish koftas. From a flavour perspective it certainly stacks up!

What do you think? Is this platter of food Good Friday worthy? 🙂 – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

Freshly cooked fish koftas ready to be served

Fish koftas

Recipe video above. These fish koftas are like your favourite Middle Eastern lamb koftas – except made with fish. Adore the spicing! Serve with Jewelled rice pilaf for a stunning platter of food.
Makes 10 to 12 koftas, serves 4 to 5.
Course Main
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Persian
Keyword fish koftas, fish skewers
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 10 koftas
Author Nagi


  • 500g/1 lb white fish fillets skin off , cut in pieces (Note 1)
  • 1 egg white (leftover yolk uses here)
  • 1/2 red onion grated (using a box grater)
  • 2 garlic , finely minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp cooking salt (kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour (sub cornflour/cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 70g/ 2.5 oz danish feta , cut into 6mm / 0.25″ cubes (Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Minted yogurt

  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt , unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup (tightly packed) mint leaves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt


  • Fish & egg blitz – Place fish and egg white in a food processor. Blitz on high until smooth. (30 sec to 1 minute) A stick blender also works.
  • Kofta mixture – Add onion, garlic, all the spices, salt, rice flour and parsley. Blitz on high until smooth (1 minute). Consistency should be like a paste.
  • Feta – Transfer to a mixing bowl, add feta and mix delicately (so the feta doesn't disintegrate).
  • Form koftas – Use wet hands to the mixture doesn't stick. Portion the mixture into 10 – 12 (70g each), and shape into a 10cm / 4" cylinder. Thread onto skewers then slightly flatten into 1.5cm / 2/3" thick. (Note 3)
  • Cook – Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large non-stick pan. Cook half the koftas for 2 minutes on each side until golden, or until the internal temperature reaches 50°C/122°F.
  • Rest – Remove onto a plate and cook the remaining koftas. (Internal temperature of cooked koftas will rise to 55°C/131°F).
  • Serve with Minted Yogurt and Jewelled rice pilaf for a stunning platter of food!

Minted yogurt

  • Blitz all ingredients in a tall jug just large enough to fit a stick blender. Keep refrigerated until required.


1. Fish – Most of the most common white fish fillets are great here.
Great for: Ling, Tilapia, Snapper, Barramundi, Silver Dory, John Dory, Basa, Hokki, Perch, Flathead, Monkfish
super lean fish (swordfish, tuna)
delicate fish (flounder, Dover sole)
small whole fish like sardines or mackerel
Frozen fish – thaw completely, pat dry then use per recipe.
2. Danish feta is a bit creamier than Greek feta which is crumblier. Greek feta will work but I’d suggest crumbling rather than cutting so the pieces meld into the fish kofta better.
3. My skewers are 16.5cm / 6.5″ long.

Life of Dozer

Caption this. (So many possibilities! 😂)

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