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Sri Lankan Fish Patties Recipe

Sri Lankan fish patties are a flakey pastry filled with spicy mackerel, potato and seasoned with spices, then deep-fried in hot oil. Eating patties takes me back to Sri Lanka instantly.

Fish Patties Recipe

Whenever I visit my relatives or aunties and uncles in Sri Lanka they would always offer Sri Lankan patties, For some reason, they would have it ready to go in their freezers just to fry when they have unexpected visitors. yes, patties can be done prior and frozen!!!!

On a side note, we Sri Lankans call aunty and uncle even if they are not even related to us hahaha. I think its mostly done out of respect for elders. Sri Lanka is a land filled with traditions and I keep calling people aunty and uncle even here in Australia I seriously need to stop doing it 🙂

My mum always made a big batch of patties every month and froze them and whenever we were hungry and wanted a snack she would ask ” shall I fry some patties” even now when I visit Sri Lanka she would ask the same thing and in 5 mins tada I get a whole plate of patties. No wonder I put on 5 kg every time I visit Sri Lanka.

What is Sri Lankan Short eats?

Patties fall into a category called Sri Lankan short eats, Now what is Sri Lankan short eats? as the name suggests it is a snack that you eat any time of the day. We have short eats for breakfast, evening snack and most definitely during parties and gatherings.

Some of the few famous Sri Lankan short eats made with the same fish filling;

Cutlets ( These are little balls filled with mackerel and potato but fried with breadcrumb)
Chinese rolls ( These are filled with mackerel and potato but wrapped in a savoury pancake and then fried with breadcrumb coating)
Fish roti (roti filled with mackerel and potato and pan-fried)
Fish Buns (Soft buns filled with mackerel and potato)

Now, this is very similar to empanadas or curry puffs that you find in other nationalities as well. I learnt from one of my followers on Instagram, that there is an Indian delicacy called gujiya which has a sweet filling. I am yet to try this but that sounds delicious as well.

Sri Lankan Fish Patties Recipe

Can Sri Lankan patties be baked? instead of frying?

Patties can also be baked, I will be very honest, yes it is healthier, yes it would have a better shape, but no it won’t taste better than the fried ones. I love when there are oil blisters in my patties, I just don’t like the smooth looking patties.

Now in this recipe, I am going to show how to make flakey patties, there is a small trick that I am using to get the best flakey patties. also, the dough recipe is an adaptation of my pie recipe, oh my god if you haven’t tried my pie you need to do yourself a favour and try it now!!!!

Can Sri Lankan fish patties be frozen?

Yes, it can be, that’s how many households do it. When you make patties, layer the patties on a tray on top of a baking paper and if you need to add more, then add another baking paper on top of each layer and layer them one by one. make sure to dust flour in between the layers. freeze it wrapped tightly in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Why is my Sri Lankan fish patties soggy?

There are a few reasons why they can get soggy,
If the oil is not hot enough, make sure to heat the oil before frying the patties
2.After cooking the patties, if the oil is not drained well. make sure the patties are drained well on top of paper towel

How to reheat Sri Lankan fish patties?

it’s best not to reheat as it is best when fried just before serving but if you made too many patties and want to reheat the later day. you can either microwave it which will not give a crunchy crust or you can reheat in the oven at 200C for 10 mins, which will help to make the patties, crunchy again.

Can I cook patties from frozen?

Yes, if you freeze patties, then definitely cook from frozen because if you try to thaw it, it will be very difficult to handle the patties, so cook it from frozen.
Especially when cooking from frozen don’t heat the oil to a high temperature as this will result in just burning the outside and having icy cold filling inside, so have the oil at medium temperature and cook for longer, this will ensure the patties are crunchy as well as heated all the way through.

You can also check my other Sri Lankan recipes

Watch video how to make Sri Lankan fish patties

Step by step recipe on how to make Sri Lankan fish patties

Fish Patties Recipe

Sri Lankan Fish Patties Recipe

Spicy mackerel and potatoes wrapped in flakey pastry and deep-fried
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 2 people


Dough recipe

  • 150 g All-purpose flour
  • 50 g Butter Cold
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 62 g Water Tap water
  • Oil For frying


Filling recipe

  • Firstly make the filling, filling recipe below


  • In a bowl, place flour, egg, salt, butter, water and mix well until combined. ( Note you don't have to knead it, just needs to be incorporated well)
  • Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins

Assembling the patties

  • Once rested, take it out of the fridge, Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is about 2 mm thick. To ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface, lightly dust the surface and flip the dough over halfway through rolling. See video for the folding method, as this will give a flakey dough.
  • Cut 3 – 3.5 inch diameter circles using a pastry cutter or a round shaped object. . Re-roll the scraps and cut more pastry circles. You should get approximately 20 – 25 wrappers.
  • Take a spoonful of the fish filling and Place it in the middle of the wrapper
  • Apply water along the edge of the wrapper. Carefully fold over the other half press down to seal. Use your fingers to form a seal along the edge, and then use a fork to crimp the edges.

How to fry the patties

  • Heat enough oil to deep fry the fish patties
  • Once the oil is heated deep fry the patties in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  • The patties should be golden brown in colour on both side
  • Take the patties off the fire and drain on a paper towel
  • Serve warm


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Sri Lankan Fish Filling Recipe

This Fish filling recipe is used in Patties, cutlets, roti
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2 people


  • Pots and Pans


  • 95  g Tuna or mackerel
  • 1  Potato Cut in quarters
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp Ginger  Chopped
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp Garlic  Chopped
  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp Red onion  Chopped
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp Mustard seeds (Optional)
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp Red chilli chopped Chopped
  • 5 5 Curry leaves Chopped Chopped
  • 1 tbsp 1 tbsp Lime/Lemon juice Squeezed
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp Curry powder ( Sri lankan or indian curry powder)
  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
  • Salt & pepper taste


  • Place the potatoes in a pot of water and boil
  • Once potatoes are boiled, take them out and mash them using a fork and leave aside ( it does not have to be thoroughly mashed)
  • Heat a pan with oil on a medium fire add onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, curry leaves and mustard seeds and cook until soft
  • Add in the potatoes, tuna, curry powder, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cook for 1 minute
  • Take the pan off the fire and add the lemon juice

Did you make this recipe?

I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @food_voyageur.
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5 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Fish Patties Recipe”

  1. Hi Rachi,
    Your patties look amazing! Just wondering how many patties you can roughly make from the given quantity? All the best for your food journey!

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