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Fish kofta with salad and tarator sauce

Neil Perry
Neil Perry

Amp up the spice – and the sense of satisfaction – with this Turkish take on the traditional meatball. Serve with a simply delicious salad. If fish is not your thing, you can also make kofta using meat such as minced lamb or chicken.

Great balls of fire: These kofta can be made with fish or meat.
Great balls of fire: These kofta can be made with fish or meat. Photo: William Meppem


700g mulloway fillets, skin and bones removed (any white fish such as flathead, leatherjacket or blue-eye trevalla are good)

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 brown onion, chopped

1 tbsp sumac

1 tsp chilli flakes

small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup walnuts, roasted

1/2 cup stale sourdough breadcrumbs

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup thick Greek-style yoghurt

2 cups sunflower oil (approximately)

1 bunch coriander, leaves picked

2 large ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

2 lebanese cucumbers, diced

1/2 red onion, finely sliced


Chop the fish into chunks. Finely chop one garlic clove. Place the chopped garlic and onions in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the fish pieces and pulse a few more times. Add the sumac, chilli, parsley and seasoning. Process again briefly - not too long, you want some texture. Cover the mixture with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate for at least half an hour.

To make the tarator sauce, place the walnuts, a pinch of salt and remaining garlic in a food processor and purée. Add the breadcrumbs, a dash of water and 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, and blend until smooth. Add a grind of pepper, then slowly add half of the olive oil, a little at a time, to make a creamy consistency. Whisk this through the yoghurt until combined.

With wet hands, roll the fish mixture into golf ball-sized balls; you should get about 20. Heat half of the sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Shallow-fry each kofta for a few minutes on all sides until golden and just cooked through, adding more oil as needed.

Make a quick dressing from the remaining lemon juice and olive oil. Toss through the coriander, tomato, cucumber and onion with some seasoning.

Serve the hot kofta on top of the tarator sauce with the salad on the side.

Serve with Neil Perry's haloumi salad with pomegranate and lemon dressing.


Photography William Meppem, Jennifer Soo Styling Hannah Meppem Food preparation Nick Banbury

Main ingredient:
Fish, Nuts, Yoghurt
Main-course, Dinner
Midweek dinner, Dinner Party, Easter

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