Mackerel Fish Balls, this recipe came about because my hubby was at work one day and one of the ladies who worked there had made these Mackerel Fish Balls to bring in for her birthday cake (basically when you have a birthday at my hubby’s place, you either bring some cakes in or something similar for the whole office, I confess that I have been a very bad husband and only made goodies for him to take in the once….).

Mackerel Fish Balls

So she had brought these in and he asked her what was in them as they were so delicious and then she explained that the Mackerel Fish Balls were a Sri Lankan dish which is often treated as finger food and served up at parties. Needless to say my hubby requested that we make these Mackerel Fish Balls for dinner and can I just say how pleased I am that he did? They are absolutely delicious and are actually not that complicated to make. The slight heat from cayenne pepper and then the turmeric and cumin powder give it a slightly curry taste which really surprises you when you bite into them.

Mackerel Fish Balls

These Mackerel Fish Balls make a great dinner party starter or are perfect for something different in your lunch box, especially as summer is coming as the Mackerel Fish Balls can be eaten hot or cold and are just as delicious either way.

Mackerel Fish Balls

The Mackerel Fish Balls use sweet potato instead of normal potato which helps make them healthier and I found that the sweet potato balances the heat from the cayenne pepper nicely. You also have the bonus of mackerel being very healthy for you too.

You can find my recent post about mackerel fish cakes here. If you  are looking for another lunch time idea, then why not try out this Springtime Quiche which was just recently on the blog, that can be found here. Looking ahead to the weekend and want something different for breakfast or brunch? Then make the Feta, Egg and Cherry Tomato Bake and you can find that recipe here.




Mackerel Fish Balls

This is a really nice dish and you can eat it on it’s own or with a salad, I had a tin of artichokes and some olives, which I just threw in a bowl and that was it, bit of ketchup and you are good to go. This makes at least 20 fish balls, so a decent amount.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x


Mackerel Fish Ball Filling:

  • 4 whole smoked mackerel fillets I used peppered ones as that was all I had, but plain is fine too.
  • 5 whole sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 whole Onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 whole red chillies keep the seeds in for extra spice or remove for less
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Sauce or Ketchup
  • 1 whole juice of a lemon
  • salt to taste

Batter for the Fish Balls:

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp whole milk other variations will be fine too.
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs again normal breadcrumbs will do
  • 100 ml vegetable oil for frying the fish balls in


  1. First peel your sweet potatoes, put a pot of salted water onto come to the boil, and then boil the sweet potatoes for 12 – 15 minutes or until nice and soft but not too soft. Mash the potatoes and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, remove the skin from the mackerel and shred it, set aside.
  3. In a large pot, fry the onion and chilli for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cumin and for an additional minute to cook the spices out. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the mash potato, lemon juice and smoked mackerel to the onions and stir well, then add the dark soy sauce and tomato sauce and stir throughly with a wooden spoon, over a low heat until combined, the cooking over a low heat allows it to combine throughly. (it does work, trust me). Once combined, set aside and allow to cool.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled, from into small meatball size balls and set on a plate.
  6. Heat up the vegetable oil in a deep sided frying pan, until medium temperature. Dip the ball in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure you get a nice even coating around each.
  7. When the oil is a good temperature, carefully place each fish ball into the oil and cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. I found that the best way to do this was to cook about 5 – 8 fish balls at a time (depending of course on the size of your pan) you then cook them for about 2 minutes on the one side and then using tongs, turn them over and fry them on the other side. Because you are shallow frying them, it is healthier than deep frying and this is why you need to turn them over half way through.
  8. They will be ready when they are a nice even golden brown all over. The cooking time also depends on the size of your balls.
  9. Once the first batch is cooked, remove from the pan and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain whilst you cook the rest.
  10. When they are all ready and a nice golden brown all over and have drained, make your salad (or not salad) serve and enjoy, about 4 -5 balls per person is great for a main course.


The fish balls freeze well, just dip them in the batter and freeze, when you are ready to eat them, defrost and make up your batter and cook as above.





Nutrition Facts
Mackerel Fish Balls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 820 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 40%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 13g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 665mg 28%
Potassium 98mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 114g 38%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 16g 32%
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 15%
Iron 21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.