Maria’s Fish Albondigas with Devilled Tomato Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

A Taste of Dreams

A Taste of Dreams

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1976

  • About

There are always little bits of leftover cooked fish about so we often have these ‘albondigas’ which are like very light fish cakes. They can be made a crisp golden outside and should be very soft and almost melt in the mouth inside. They are a good lunch or supper dish with a salad. The first part of the preparation must be done at least two hours beforehand. The tomato sauce is cold and can be made in advance.


  • about ½–¾ lb cooked boned fish (or chicken) (225–350 g)
  • 2 onions – grated
  • good pinch of saffron or 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 3 oz butter (75 g)
  • oil or fat to fry in
  • about 1 pint warm milk (570 ml)

For the Sauce to go with Them

  • ¾ lb tomatoes (350 g)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1–2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • salt


Melt about 2 oz butter (50 g) and fry the grated onion gently until transparent in a large deep frying pan. Melt in an extra ounce or so of butter, add the flaked fish and just stir and coat the fish with butter. Take away from the heat. Stir in the flour. Put the saffron, or turmeric, the nutmeg, salt and plenty of black pepper into the milk in a saucepan and heat. Pour the milk gradually on to the fish and onions and stir thoroughly. Bring slowly to simmering and simmer gently stirring often until the mixture is thick. It should be like a soft dough – if it looks terribly stiff stir in some more warm milk, or if it is too liquid add about a dessertspoon of flour blended in a little milk, and bring up to the boil again. Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Flour a board and your hands and make the cold mixture into small rissole shapes. Roll them in the flour. Have the beaten egg ready. Heat up some smoking hot oil or fat in the frying pan (the oil should be about ½ in/1 cm deep or more), dip each albondiga in the beaten egg then fry them quite fast until golden brown. Take them out of the fat on a slotted spoon and drain the excess fat off by putting the albondigas on to a piece of paper kitchen roll before arranging them in a serving dish.

For the Sauce to go with Them

Skin the tomatoes by first dipping them for a minute in boiling water then transferring them to cold water. Either mash up well with a fork, put through a Mouli or put in a liquidiser with the other ingredients. This sauce is to put on the side of your plate to dip the ‘albondigas’ into.