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British Style Fish Cakes

The type of fish cakes you can order at a British chip shop are more often than not the frozen variety. Although these are alright if you are hungry and just want a quick, economical dinner, they cannot compete with homemade fish cakes. You can use any kind of fresh or thawed fish filets you want to make these – salmon, mackerel, cod, hake, or a mixture. The fish is poached in milk with a bay leaf, then combined with mashed potatoes, egg, spring onions, and some dill and parsley for aromatic flavour. Coat the patties in bread crumbs and then pan-fry them in oil until golden brown and crispy.

These are traditional served with chips (fries) and perhaps some green peas too. Why not serve tartare sauce (spelled tartar sauce outside of the UK) with the fish cakes, since this always complements the taste? This recipe makes four servings but you can double it if you prefer. These British style fish cakes are beautifully moist and flavourful on the inside and crunchy and golden brown on the outside, for perfect balance.

Making homemade fish cakes is a great way to sneak some vegetables into your family’s diet too. Finely dice carrots or other vegetables and incorporate those into the fish cakes. You could also cook them with the potatoes and mix them into the mash. Whether you choose to make the recipe exactly as it is written here or tweak it to your own requirements, the whole family is sure to enjoy these wonderful fish cakes.

Simple Fish Cakes with Parsley
Summary: Fish filets are mixed with potatoes, herbs, sprig onions and egg to make patties. They are then coated in breadcrumbs and fried in oil until golden brown and beautifully crispy.
Cuisine: British
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 14 fl oz (400 ml) milk
  • 14 oz (400g) fish filets (salmon, mackerel etc)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 oz (400g) peeled, chopped potatoes
  • 4 sliced spring onions (green onions)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3½ oz (100g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 lemon wedges, to serve
  1. Put the milk, fish and bay leaf in a pan.
  2. Grind in some salt and black pepper.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Poach the fish for 10 minutes or until flaky.
  5. Remove the fish from the milk mixture.
  6. Reserve the milk mixture.
  7. Discard the bay leaf.
  8. Spread the fish out on a platter to cool, discarding any skin or bones.
  9. Put the potatoes in a pan and cover them with water.
  10. Cook until tender then drain.
  11. Add some of the reserved milk mixture and mash.
  12. Do not add too much milk, only enough to make it creamy.
  13. Now add the fish, spring onions, egg, dill, and parsley.
  14. Fold the mixture together gently so you do not break the fish up too much.
  15. Add some salt and black pepper if necessary.
  16. Put the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  17. Roll the fish mixture into balls then coat them in the breadcrumbs.
  18. Flatten each one to make burger shapes.
  19. Now cover and refrigerate the fish cakes for at least an hour.
  20. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat.
  21. Cook the fish cakes in batches for 5 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  22. Serve them with lemon wedges.

Photo Description:

These crispy, golden brown fish cakes pair wonderfully with chips (fries) and perhaps some green peas or beans, to make a tasty, typically British dinner. You can use any kind of fish to make these, even tinned (canned) fish or seafood to save time. These are simple to prepare and you can watch them pan-fry to crispy, golden brown perfection while you prepare your side dishes. This recipe makes four servings but is easy enough to double or triple. Homemade fish cakes are on another level than the frozen shop-bought kind. These are so fresh-tasting and perfect served with lemon wedges.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More