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Sri Lankan fish bun Recipe – Malu Paan

Sri Lankan fish bun is also is known ‘Malu paan is a triangle-shaped soft bread filled with curried potato and canned fish mixed with Sri Lankan spices. In Sri Lanka, we eat this as a snack or for breakfast. we even have a name for this sort of food we call them the ‘short eats” as the name suggests its another name for snacking in Sri Lanka.

Sri lankan fish bun

Growing up in Sri Lanka I loved short eats, but funnily enough, we don’t make fish buns at home because it is readily available anywhere in Sri Lanka. Most of the short eats like patties or fish cutlets which basically uses the same filling is normally made in many households, but this particular dish is not commonly made in Sri Lankan households.

Living in a foreign country has made me cook a lot of Sri Lankan snacks at home, and the fish bun has been a regular make in my place as its so comforting to eat such a delicious snack that takes me right back to Sri Lanka.

What kind of bread dough is used for the Sri Lankan fish bun?

Usually, soft bread dough is used for this recipe, I have used my dinner roll recipe as this is very soft and taste delicious.

What other filling can be added instead of canned fish?

In Sri Lanka, we have many types of buns similar to a fish bun, but it’s not triangle shaped like the traditional fish bun. Most of the other buns are rectangular.

1. Seeni sambol ( Sri Lankan sweet Caramalised onion)
2. Meat most popular is beef you can also add chicken
3.Vegetable ( This same recipe can be turned to a vegetable bun just by omitting the tinned fish from the recipe)

What kind of canned fish can be used for the Sri Lankan fish bun?

We use canned mackerel, But I also use canned tuna here in Australia and both are delicious. We never had canned tuna in Sri Lanka so we had to use mackerel but I actually prefer using tuna, because it has a better flavour. So if you have access to canned tuna use it.

What other dishes can be made using the same filling?

This same filling is used in many different dishes
1. Fish cutlet
2. Sri Lankan fish patties
3. Sri Lankan fish rolls
4. Sri Lankan fish pastries
5.Sri Lankan fish roti

Can you make mini fish buns for party snacks or a picnic?

Definitely, small buns can be made to enjoy with a large number of people, and they are super cute as well.

How long does it take for the Sri Lankan fish buns to rise?

So many people ask how long does it take to rise, the simple answer is, it depends from country to country, place to place, season to Season.
warmer the country, place, season quicker the rise. Melbourne is quite cold most of the time so it takes me someday 3-4 hours for the first rise (When it is raining and very cold)

How can I get my dough to rise quicker?

If you live in a cold country like me, chances are your dough will take a long time to rise. But there are few tricks you can add to speed up the process.

1. Add warm water
as this will speed up the rising process. because humidity and warm environments makes the dough rise quicker adding warm water directly into the dough helps.

2. Activating the yeast
is very important in dough recipes, activating the yeast means the yeast will froth up when mixed with sugar and water. This trick is used to see if your yeast is good if it is an old yeast your water will not froth. then there is no point making bread with that yeast.
Activating the yeast also helps to raise the dough quicker. Yeast and sugar are best friends, it needs sugar to activate. If the yeast is mixed with salt, it kills the yeast, hence why it is important to activate the yeast and let the yeast feed on the sugar before mixing it all together.
I never recommend adding the yeast directly to a dough. So always activate the yeast for better results.

What if i don’t have Sri Lankan curry powder?

That’s alright you can also use Indian curry powder or any other curry powder, that you find in your local supermarket, as the curry powder is not the most dominant flavour thus it doesn’t have to be Sri Lankan curry powder.

This is an easy fish bun recipe that can be followed.

You can also check my other Sri lankan and dinner recipes.

Watch how to make Sri Lankan fish bun – malu paan

Step by step guide how to make Sri Lankan fish bun – malu paan

Sri lankan fish bun

Sri Lankan fish bun Recipe – Malu Paan

Spicy fish filling filled inside a soft bun
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Servings: 4 people


  • Oven


Dough recipe

  • 220 g Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 50 ml Milk Fresh
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 7 g Yeast Instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp Water Warm
  • 1 tsp Sugar White sugar


  • Add the yeast, sugar, water in a small bowl and mix well and leave aside for 10 minutes until it froths
  • Place flour, salt, milk powder, butter and egg, mix well using a rubber spatula or spoon Once the yeast has froth, then add the yeast mixture into the flour and mix it with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated
  • Apply flour onto the work surface and dough. Transfer the dough on to the surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes ( If you have a stand mixer with the dough hook, then use the dough hook which will help to knead the dough easily)
  • Shape it to a log shape and portion it into 6 equal pieces
  • Using your palm in a circular motion, make smooth balls by pressing it downwards and rotating it in one place
  • Dust a tray with flour and place the dough balls on the tray leaving sufficient gaps in between. Cover with a damp cloth, let it rise in a warm area until doubled in size
  • Once doubled in size dust flour to the work surface and flatten the edges of the dough. don't flatten the middle as it needs to be fluffy
  • Add 2 Tbsp of the filling inside, click here to get my filling recipe the flatten dough and fold it to give a triangular-shaped bun
  • Dust flour on to a baking tray and place the fish buns on the tray leaving a sufficient amount of space in between the buns. The unfolded surface should face up
  • Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise for the second time in a warm area
  • After it has risen, egg wash the top of the fish buns
  • Preheat the oven at 200C
  • Bake it in the oven for 15-17 minutes until it has golden brown colour on the top
  • Once it comes out of the oven the top will be hard. Leave it outside for 10 minutes until it softens.
  • Enjoy immediately

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4 thoughts on “Sri Lankan fish bun Recipe – Malu Paan”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I tried making fish buns for the first time and used this recipe. It came out really well!

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