Sri Lankan Maalu (Fish) Cutlets

Fish cutlets (spicy, or not) are a popular comfort food in Sri Lanka. This small snack is all across the island; local street corners, road-side food stalls, restaurants, cafes, and cooked in the home.

The recipe is an easy one to prepare and goes well for any occasion, event or rainy day to treat yourself with. It has big flavours and the potato base carries the flavors of the fish and the spices, with the lime juice and turmeric helping to mask any strong fish smell.


  • 250g fish pieces or Mackerel can in oil
  • 350g potatoes
  • 50g chopped small onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 to 5 finely chopped green chilies (optional)
  • 2 sprig chopped curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grounded black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 100g bread crumbs
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • 1/2 lime or Lemon juice


      1. If fresh fish (tuna) boil or steam with salt.
      2. Let it cool down and then break in to small pieces, remove all bones
      3. Boil the potatoes, peel off the skin and crush it with your fingers or a masher (don’t over boil the potato, as this may be too runny for the paste
      4. Heat the pan with oil
      5. Add onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, cloves, Turmeric. Temper till brown colour
      6. Add fish and temper. Add lime juice, pepper, and salt to taste
      7. Add potatoes and mix well to a paste
      8. Make in to balls or cutlets shapes (preferred size or to weight)
      9. Soak the cutlet one by one in the beaten egg
      10. Then coat the cutlet with breadcrumbs
      11. Heat oil in deep pan or use a deep fryer
      12. Fry in low heat until brown

– Serve with Tomato ketchup / green chilli sauce


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