Sardine Balls


(Cooking and preparation time:30 minutes)



Many many years ago at an island of Kho Samui, I had fish balls of local catch loaded with wonderful Thai fresh herbs. They were deep-fried.And they were heavenly.


I tried several ways to recreate what I remember.†† I gave up the idea of deep-frying and resorted to a pan-frying.To me this method seems to retain the good fish flavor better than deep-frying.†† Also I use a lot of herbs so that sometimes fish balls tend to crumble.Pan-frying is gentler to cook those fragile balls than deep-frying.


I didnít like the texture when I used a food processor to chop up the fish.Now I use a Japanese cleaver to chop them.


I also tried bread crumbs as a binding agent, but, of course, it was better without them.If the fish balls seem like too crumbly, you can flour lightly on the flat sides but not the edges just right before cooking.The cooking time is so short, the flour on the edges might be left uncooked.


Since I donít live in Thailand, the choice of herbs is quite different from the Kho Samui variety.Mine becomes more like pan-Asia via the Mediterranean.Use whatever fancies you or whatís available for you.

Warning:This recipe might convert non-sardine-eaters to sardine-lovers.

1 lb of fresh sardines

ľ cup of mixed chopped herbs

Coriander, parsley, sweet and Thai basil, chives, sage, marjoram and lemon thyme are used here.

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Flour if needed

Extra virgin olive oil for frying

Lemon wedges


Clean the sardines and remove bones, fins and tails.Please watch the video to see how to clean them.Do not worry about thin bones of sardines.When you chop them with the meat, they wonít bother you later.


Chop up herbs and sardines, and mix them.Add salt and freshly ground pepper to the fish.Divide into flat discs with about 1/3 inch thickness.Do not make them into spherical balls.Thin discs are better to cook evenly without overcooking.Heat a pan well and add oil, and cook them for one minute for each side with a rather high heat.Please do not overcook them.


Serve them with wedges of lemon.


2 servings