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Fishcake on salad.jpg
A fishcake served on salad
Main ingredients fish, potato, breadcrumbs, or batter
Cookbook: Fishcake  Media: Fishcake

A fishcake (sometimes written as fish cake) is a food item similar to a croquette, consisting of filleted fish or other seafood with potato patty, sometimes coated in breadcrumbs or batter, and fried.

The fishcake has been seen as a way of using up leftovers that might otherwise be thrown away. In Mrs Beeton's 19th century publication Book of Household Management, her recipe for fishcakes calls for "leftover fish" and "cold potatoes."[1] More modern recipes have added to the dish, suggesting ingredients such as smoked salmon and vegetables.


Commonly fishcakes used cod as a filling; however, as cod stocks have been depleted other varieties of white fish are used, such as haddock or whiting.[2] Fishcakes may also use oily fish such as salmon for a markedly different flavour.

Fishcakes have also traditionally been made from salted fish (most commonly cod, haddock, or pollock). Fishcakes are also prepared without breadcrumbs or batter, and are made with a mixture of cooked fish, potatoes, and occasionally eggs formed into patties and then fried.


As fish has traditionally been a major dietary component of people living near seas, rivers, and lakes, there have arisen many regional variations of the fish cake.

Variations can depend on what type of fish is used; how finely chopped the fish is; the use of milk or water; the use of flour or boiled potatoes; the use of eggs, egg whites, or no eggs; the cooking method (boiling, frying, or baking); and the inclusion of other ingredients (for example, shrimp, bacon, herbs, or spices).

In Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and Vietnam, surimi (fish cakes) are a popular ingredient in hotpot, soups, stirfries, dim sum, or deep-fried and eaten as a snack. In parts of East Asia, fish balls are made of kneaded (not minced) fish dough.


In Bermuda, they are known as Bermuda fishcakes and are made especially during Easter, but also throughout the year. Here fishcakes are normally eaten between hot cross buns.


In Newfoundland and Labrador, the fish is generally salted cod flakes and is blended with mashed potatoes. Savory is used instead of parsley, along with minced sweated onions. The cakes are then formed into rounds and cooked in oil or pork back fat until golden brown.


In Barbados, fishcakes are made from salted codfish and flour batter, then fried in oil.


In Denmark, fiskefrikadeller are slightly elongated, pan-fried patties much like regular frikadeller. They are normally not breaded. A similar dish which is boiled, rather than fried, is called fiskeboller and added to certain soups, though it may be closer to a fish version of a knödel. In Southern Jutland, fiskefrikadeller sometimes contain smoked pork fat.


In Northern Germany, fishcakes are known as Fischfrikadellen.


In West Bengal, several local fish species (mostly riverine) are prepared and eaten in deep-fried breadcrumb covered fishcakes, locally called maacher chop. The item is very popular as an appetizer during middle-class Bengali festivities.


Indonesian varieties of fishcakes are locally known in South Sumatra as pempek or empek-empek. The traditional South Sumatran pempek is served with kuah cuka. These fishcakes are usually round or tube-shaped.


In Jewish cuisine, gefilte fish are patties of white fish mixed with matzoh or challah, poached in the skin of the fish.


In Japan, white fish is puréed and steamed into a loaf called kamaboko. Fried fishcakes, such as satsumaage, are also popular.


Various eomuk (fishcakes)
Eomukbar (어묵바), a popular South Korean snack.

In South Korea, fishcakes are called either eomuk (어묵) or odeng (오뎅, loan word from the Japanese dish name oden). Usually made by deep-frying the paste made from ground fish, eomuk can be boiled with other ingredients to make eomuk-tang (어묵탕; "fishcake soup") or eomuk-jeongol (어묵전골; "fishcake hot pot"), stir-fried to make eomuk-bokkeum (어묵볶음), and put in various dishes such as jjigae (stew) varieties and gimbap varieties.

As a street food, eomuk can be boiled on a skewer in broth and is sold from street carts. The broth is sometimes given to the customer in paper cups for dipping and drinking.[3] An alternate preparation of eomuk is sold in the colder times of the year and is marketed as 'hotbar' or 'hot bar'. While the hot bar is still served on a stick or skewer, the recipe calls for deep frying instead of boiling. In this form, the hot bar can be prepared according to any particular vendor's 'secret' recipe: plain, mixed with vegetables such as diced carrot or whole perilla leaf, or served with any number of sauces or condiments such as ketchup or mustard.


In Norway, fishcakes are made much like the Danish fiskefrikadeller. In addition, spherical fiskeboller (“fishballs”: fisk + bolle, of the same etymological origin as meatballs) are formed from forcemeat. They are generally served with a white sauce and boiled carrots, and a popular condiment is mild curry powder.


In Portugal, Pastéis de Bacalhau (codfish pasties) are a type of very popular fishcake. Pastéis are made of potato, codfish (Bacalhau), parsley, and eggs.

Puerto Rico[edit]

In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, bacalaítos are eaten either as a snack or as part of a meal.


In Romania, fishcakes are called chiftele de peşte and are made with carp.


In Sweden, canned fiskbullar are widely found; in contrast to fiskefrikadeller, they are not fried but boiled and as a result are almost entirely white.


Thai thot man pla at a market in Chiang Mai

In Thai cuisine, the fish is first mashed and then mixed with chopped yardlong beans, fresh cilantro (including stalks), fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, red curry paste, and an egg binding. This is deep fried and usually served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Thot man pla have become popular around the world.

United Kingdom[edit]

In Yorkshire, England, the “Yorkshire fishcake” is a variation traditionally served in many fish and chip shops in South Yorkshire, parts of West Yorkshire, and Humberside. It consists of two slices of potato (sometimes parboiled), with offcuts of fish in between, deep fried in batter.[4] Yorkshire fishcakes can also be known as scallop fishcakes, or fish patties. TV chef Brian Turner has made the recipe available via his website.[5] Another variation of the fishcake is the parsley cake which is sold in some fish and chip shops in and around Castleford, West Yorkshire, England. It consists of minced fish, mashed potato and fresh parsley, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, fish patties are traditionally served with haggis, tatties, and neeps.

In Saint Helena, fishcakes are made from locally caught tuna or wahoo scraped into mashed potato with herbs and spices, then moulded into cakes and fried in oil. They are often spicy or, as locals would describe, 'with bite.' Traditional Recipe


In Vietnam, fishcakes are made of fresh fish, sometimes along with flour. The fishcakes can either be fried or steamed/boiled.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mrs. Beeton's Fish Recipes Revisited,". 
  2. ^ ""Has cod had its chips?", BBC News". July 20, 2000. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ Goldberg, Lina "Asia's 10 greatest street food cities" Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine. CNN Go. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11
  4. ^ "Yorkshire Fishcake, Potato Slice, Fish, Potato Slice photo – L. Gill photos at". July 1, 2003. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Yorkshire Fishcakes". Retrieved November 17, 2010.