Fish Balls

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

This recipe is similar to that for Fish Cakes but replaces the breadcrumb or yam binder with a cream sauce. The fish mixture is shaped into balls, coated in egg and breadcrumbs, and then fried.


  • pounds fresh fish or leftover cooked fish (such as red snapper, grouper, halibut, or any fleshy fish), flaked (about 2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon dried ground red pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fish spice (such as Indian fish masala or curry powder)
  • ¼ cup finely grated or minced onion (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup well-packed breadcrumbs (preferably made from white slightly stale bread for a lighter color)
  • Oil for frying (not red palm oil)

Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon dried ground red, white, or black pepper



Cook fish (if not using leftover)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of a baking pan and grease the foil lightly. Wash the fish and season with salt and black or red pepper, and place in the baking pan. Roast until barely cooked, about 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily. Remove from the oven and allow the fish to cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and all the bones and discard them. Put the fish into a bowl and flake.

Prepare cream sauce

  1. Put the milk and cornstarch in a small pan and stir until smooth. Add the butter or margarine, salt, and pepper. Heat on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 minute or until thickened, then remove from the heat.

Assemble fish balls

  1. Place 2 cups of flaked fish in a bowl and mash it with a fork or your fingers or a wire whisk until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the ground red pepper, salt, fish spice, onion (if using), and mix thoroughly. Add ¾ cup of white sauce. (Note: begin with ¾ cup of white sauce and then add the rest if it will not make the balls too soft to hold their shape.)
  2. Break egg into a small bowl and mix with a fork. Put breadcrumbs on a plate. If desired, place a sheet of waxed paper on the work surface.
  3. Shape about 2 tablespoons of the fish mixture into a ball in your hands, then dip it into the beaten egg, and roll it in the breadcrumbs. Continue until all of the fish mixture is used.

Fry the fish balls

  1. Heat several cups of oil in a deep fryer or deep pan on the stove to about 375 degrees F. Make sure never to fill the oil over half full since it could bubble over when adding the fish. Add the fish balls a few at a time to the hot oil and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon drain them on paper towels.

To serve

Milder flavored and moister than the fish cakes, these fish balls make delicious appetizers served with hot pepper sauce, Shito, or ketchup.

At Flair catering, these are sometimes served in a Ghana-style tomato gravy, with or without curry powder: gently set the fish balls into the pot with the gravy just before serving and shake to coat them.