Mackerel & Chilli Fish Cakes

With the start of the festive season, I've found myself rushing around so much that by the end of the day I really can't be bothered to make myself a nice, filling meal and the easiest thing seems to reach out for that hugely tempting take away or a 'bung it in the microwave' job. However at this time of year I wouldn't condone such behaviour, as I can guarantee that most of us are on a pre-Christmas starvation spree to ensure a maximum food coma over the course of one gluttonous day. In light of this, I've rustled up a super easy weekday supper inspired by Sri Lanka's love of all things fishy and spicy!

These fish cakes are super easy to make and can be kept in the fridge or freezer and cooked up in no time for a quick and healthy supper. You can use any fish you like be it fresh, frozen and tinned or even mix up a few different types if you have some you want to use up.

Servings: Makes 6 large fish cakes 

Time: 30 mins prep, 10 mins cooking


  • 1 tin of mackerel
  • 2 large potatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 finely chopped green chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon of English/Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 knob of butter

For the breadcrumb crust

  • 1 whisked egg
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • Breadcrumbs to coat


  1. Start by peeling the potatoes and chopping them into chunks and then putting them into a pan of water to boil.
  2. In a separate frying pan, heat up a little vegetable oil on a low heat then add in the onion and leave for a few minutes to sweat. The onions should not brown, but should soften and still have a little bite to them.
  3. Then add in the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute, then turn off the heat and mix in the chopped green chilli. 
  4. After about 15 minutes the potatoes should be lovely and soft. Take them off the heat, drain the potatoes and then mash using a fork.
  5. The tinned mackerel I used came in large fillets, so I drained the fillets and then flaked them into the mashed potato.
  6. Once this is all mixed, add in the onion, garlic and green chilli and stir. Then add in the mustard, pepper and salt.
  7. Leave everything to cool down for about 5 minutes, then add in a raw egg and stir around. The mixture should be cool enough so the egg doesn't cook!
  8. Now shape the mixture into round circles roughly 2 cm thick and dust them completely with flour.
  9. Brush the fish cakes in egg and then coat with the breadcrumbs. You should end up with 6 large fish cakes!
  10. To cook, heat up some butter and oil in a frying pan on a low-medium heat. Once warm, add in the fish cakes and leave to cook for 5 minutes on either side.
  11. Take the fish cakes off the heat once they have cooked to a lovely golden colour and are warmed through. Serve straight away with some fresh veg and a slice of lemon.