Spicy Moroccan fish balls

Looking for a fish dish with a kick? Look no further.

The tender, juicy morsels are cooked in a soupy sauce. Olive oil, garlic and chili give this dish its huge flavor kick. Not to mention plenty of cilantro – you’ll need a bunch and a half.

The Little One liked it so much, she asked me to cook it again. Happy to oblige, darlin’ daughter.

Spicy Moroccan fish balls

Prep25 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes


For the fish balls

  • 1 lb ground grey mullet
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/4 cup grated potato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 hot green pepper
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lemon, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and cook until soft, stirring. Over medium heat, this should take about 3 minutes. Add the paprika and tomato paste. Cook 1 more minute.
  • Add the water, cilantro, lemon and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook 20 minutes over medium heat. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • About 10 minutes into the time the sauce is cooking, assemble the fish balls.
  • Either pulse the fish ball ingredients in the food processor, or mix with a wooden spoon. Either way, don’t work it so hard that it forms a paste. You want a light, almost crumbly mixture.
  • With your hands, lightly knead the mixture for half a minute., the heat of your hands will bind the ingredients together. Form balls the size of ping-pong balls and set aside in a cool place.
  • Check the consistency of the sauce. If you like it soupy, it’ll be ready in 20 minutes cooking time. If you want it thicker, cook it down some more. When you feel the sauce is to your taste, gently place the fish balls into it and cook 10 minutes.
  • Serve as an appetizer, although it makes a fine, light main dish for 4 also.


Adapted from Al Hashulchan magazine.

Subscribe to This Week Unpacked

Each week we bring you a wrap-up of all the best stories from Unpacked. Stay in the know and feel smarter about all things Jewish.