CHOPPED FRIED “GEFILTE” FISH BALLS

Still in lock down and thinking ahead to pesach (Passover) in about 2 weeks and what we will be able to prepare for the table.

Chopped and fried gefilte fish, was a frequent feature on our family menu. This version of fish balls is unique to the English Jewish tradition and seems to have evolved from the traditional Ashkenazi  poached‘ gefilte fish’ but there is an additional historical fact that can be attributed to the fried version.
A little-known fact is that the quintessential British fish and chips is actually attributed to Portuguese Sephardic Jews who fled the Inquisition in the 16th century and found refuge in the British Isles. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to deduct that fried balls of fish were also introduced to England by the same small number of Portuguese Jews who migrated to London during the 1650s.

My mother would make chopped fried fish balls not only for Passover but on other occasions especially in summer when they would be served cold alongside “Chrain”(beetroot and horseradish salsa) and a salad.

She would first “chop” and mince the fish and onion using a large knife, then add the egg, seasoning and matzo meal.

The original recipe would have been made from a selection of fish available in the UK at the time, most likely Hake, Haddock, Cod etc. These fish are not readily available here in Israel so a mixture of Buri (mullet) and Denis (Sea Bream) are good substitutes.

SOPHIE’S CHOPPED FRIED FISH BALLS (my interpretation)

Ingredients

  • 450-gram mullet and 450 gram Denis skinned and boned and minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 medium onions, finely grated
  • 100  gram matzo meal, or bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp canola (rapeseed) oil
  • More canola or other vegetable oil to fry

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Place in the fridge for one hour to firm the mix
  • Roll into medium sized balls by hand
  • Then roll to coat them with the spare matzo meal / bread crumbs
  • Heat the oil in a large shallow frying pan (around 4 cm in depth)
  • Turn the balls until they go golden brown
  • Once cooked, chill them They taste amazing hot but hey actually taste even better cold

Chrain (Horseradish)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 250 gram raw horseradish root
  • 150 gram raw beets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup warm boiled water

Directions for White Chrain

  • Peel the horseradish and grind it finely by hand or in a food processor.
  • Mix it together with all the other ingredients and refrigerate in a tightly closed jar.
  • Ready to eat after a few hours.

For Red Chrain

  • Peel the beets and horseradish and leave in cold water for about an hour.
  • Drain and grind them finely by hand or in a food processor.
  • Mix together with all the other ingredients and refrigerate in a tightly closed jar
  • Ready in a few hours to eat. .

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