African Recipes: Boulettes de Poisson

Boulettes de Poisson

Serving size: 4


Fish Balls
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Chile peppers, chopped (optional) -- 1 to 3
  • Parsley, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
  • White fish fillets, chopped -- 2 pounds
  • Bread crumbs -- 1/2 cup
  • Water or milk -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Oil for deep frying
Tomato Sauce
  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Chile peppers, minced (optional) -- 1 to 3
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
  • Tomato paste -- 2 tablespoons
  • Water -- 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Add the onion, chiles and parsley to to a food processor or large mortar and process until smooth. Add the fish and continue to process until smooth and pasty. Remove to a bowl.
  2. Stir the bread crumbs and water or milk together in a small bowl, then stir into the fish mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using oiled hands, form the fish mixture into golf ball-sized balls and set them on a tray.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or around 1-inch deep in a large pot to around 365°F. Add a few of the fish balls and deep fry, turning often, until golden brown on the outside. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining fish balls. Set the fish balls aside.
  5. For the sauce, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, chiles and garlic and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the water and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 4 or 5 minutes.
  6. Stir the fish balls into the tomato sauce and simmer another minute or two. Adjust seasoning and serve over rice pilaf or ceebu jen.


  • Use any type of hot chile pepper you like. Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers work well. Eliminate the peppers if you don't like spicy food.
  • Africans love Maggi® seasoning. Stir a crushed Maggi cube or a fish or chicken bouillon cube into the fish ball mixture for extra flavor.


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