Gefilte Fish

I would love to have met my great grandparents as I’m sure I would have enjoyed listening to their stories about life in Romania. But, I will have to rely on my imagination to figure out how they lived. Having seen photographs of the Shtetl I can figure out that life was tough. Shtetl is the Yiddish word for a small town where Jewish people lived. My grandfather left Romania as a child, during the Pogroms long before the Shtetl’s were destroyed by the Nazi’s, killing all the people who lived there. Like all food in Jewish culture, gefilte fish has a tradition steeped in biblical times. I can imagine my great grandmother using cheap fish to create a meal for her family, bulking out the meat from fish heads with other ingredients. The gefilte fish would have been served on Shabbat, having been prepared in the morning. Jewish faith prohibits certain activities over the Sabbath, one of them being selecting or choosing, which will include the picking of bones out of fish. For me, gefilte fish is something served at every Seder, the Passover meal. In preparation for this year’s Pesach dinner, I have made baked gefilte fish, which are lighter and tastier than the traditional boiled ones my grandmother made. I hope you will give my version of these fish balls a try, no matter what your faith, as they are really delicious.

Gefilte Fish
Gefilte Fish
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4 from 1 vote

Gefilte Fish

I have taken the traditional fish ball and made it lighter and tastier by baking it.
Recipe Category: Seafood
Makes enough for: 6 people
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Jamie Geller's Joy of Kosher page 58


  • 600 g firm white fish I used hake
  • 500 mls milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 10 mls paprika
  • 10 mls dried parsley
  • 2 pinches ground allspice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 65 g matza meal
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 60 mls olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small battens (about 5mm square)
  • 10 g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


  • Place the fish into a sauté pan
  • Add the milk, bay leaves and peppercorns
  • Cover and bring to a gentle simmer over a low temperature
  • Poach until you can flake the fish with a fork
  • Strain off the liquid and leave to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 175° Celsius
  • Flake the fish into a bowl and add the paprika, dried parsley, allspice, garlic and matza meal
  • Beat the egg and add to the fish
  • Season to taste and mix the ingredients until well combined
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary
  • Pour the oil into an oven proof dish
  • Scatter the onions over the bottom of the dish
  • Form the fish into balls
  • Place a carrot batten into the middle of each ball
  • Place the balls onto the onions
  • Drizzle them generously with olive oil
  • Scatter the fresh parsley over the top of the balls and onions
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Leave to cool and place into a container that can go in the fridge
  • Leave to set in the fridge for 4 hours
  • Serve cold with the onions and chrain

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Traditional Jewish Fish Balls
Traditional Jewish Fish Balls

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31 thoughts on “Gefilte Fish

  1. What a fantastic recipe Tandy-I really like gefilte fish. My best friend growing up was Jewish so I had a lot of Jewish foods to eat after school! I wish I could have met my grandparents. I never did so I never knew about a whole generation of my family.

  2. So this is eaten cold? I am truly fascinated – and ooh, the gefilte fish balls have a wonderful carroty surprise in the middle!

  3. 5 stars
    Yes, I will definitely give your fish balls a try! Thanks for a lovely recipe! The dish looks awesome!

  4. I have always been fascinate by this recipe, but have never made it so will give your version try – thanks Tandy.

  5. What a great recipe Tandy! I grew up in an all Jewish neighborhood and Jewish foods! Great photo and recipe! Cheers! Joanne

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