Tempura Pilchards And Cabbage Parcels

I am not in the running for the public vote prize at all for Freshly Blogged, but your support throughout this competition means so much to me. Thank you to everyone who has voted thus far! This week I have made Tempura Pilchards And Cabbage Parcels.

Tempura Pilchards Served With Cabbage Parcels
Tempura Pilchards Served With Cabbage Parcels

We eat tinned fish at least once a week for lunch at work and so I was quite excited to see this week’s star ingredient was pilchards. However, I had so many ideas running through my head trying to work out how I was going to use the other ingredients. My first thought was to make arancini, fried rice balls, which I would stuff with the pilchards, cabbage and feta, but that left the beans without a role in the dish. My next idea was to make rice and beans, but then I didn’t know how I was going to use the cabbage. And so I went to sleep and left the thoughts hanging around until I woke up before dawn with a perfect solution. I would make rice balls parcelled in cabbage leaves. With that sorted I decided to make a tempura batter for the pilchards and beans, and tie the dish together with a tomato relish.  This made for an interesting Saturday lunch and the portion was generous given that there were 7 pilchards in the tin.

Ingredients For Freshly Blogged Challenge 4
Ingredients For Freshly Blogged Challenge 4
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Tempura Pilchards Served With Cabbage Parcels Recipe

Prep Time1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Recipe Category: Seafood
Makes enough for: 2 people
All Rights Reserved: an original recipe from Lavender and Lime


For the cabbage and rice parcels

  • 100 g brown rice
  • 1 pinch fine salt
  • 250 mls water
  • 15 mls salt
  • 1 medium cabbage, cut in half, leaves removed
  • 85 g plain feta, crumbled
  • 1.25 mls ground cumin

For the tempura pilchards and beans

  • 100 g beans, trimmed
  • 500 mls canola oil
  • 200 mls water
  • 1 egg
  • 150 g flour
  • 2.5 mls salt
  • 2.5 mls cayenne pepper
  • 2.5 mls ground cumin
  • 1 x 400g tin pilchards in tomato sauce, drained

For the tomato and onion relish

  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced
  • 5 mls ground cumin
  • 1.25 mls cayenne pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season


For the cabbage and rice parcels

  • Place the rice, pinch of salt and water into a small sauce pan
  • Bring the water to the boil
  • Cover with a lid and switch the stove off
  • Leave the pot on the plate and allow the rice to cook for 50 minutes
  • While you are waiting for the rice water to come to the boil, boil 1 litre of water in a medium sized pot
  • Add 15mls salt and blanch the cabbage leaves
  • Set the cabbage leaves aside and keep the water boiling for your beans

For the tempura pilchards and beans

  • Blanch the beans and refresh in ice water
  • Drain and leave to dry on kitchen roll
  • Put the oil on to warm – you want the oil at 70°Celsius
  • Put the water into a medium size bowl and whisk in the egg until frothy
  • Whisk in 100g flour and set aside
  • Place the rest of the flour into a medium size bowl and add the salt, cayenne and cumin and stir in well

For the tomato and onion relish

  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
  • Sauté the onions until soft
  • Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until aromatic
  • Add the tomatoes and season
  • Pour 250mls water into the pan and simmer until the water has evaporated
  • Adjust the seasoning, add 50mls of water and keep on a low heat until you are ready to serve

To serve

  • Once the rice has cooked, stir in the feta and cumin without breaking up the rice too much
  • Cut the rib out of the cabbage leaves and place a tablespoon of rice into each leaf
  • Roll up and set aside until you are ready to dish up
  • Cut the pilchards in half down the back bone and remove the bone
  • Pat dry and place into the seasoned flour
  • Shake off the excess flour and dip into the batter
  • Place the fish gently into the oil and cook for 2 minutes
  • Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes
  • Remove the fish from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to drain
  • Dip the beans into the batter and fry in 2 batches in the oil
  • Remove and drain and then season with some salt
  • Serve together with the tomato and onion relish

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Disclosure: This challenge was sponsored by Lucky Star for the Freshly Blogged Challenge. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

What I blogged:

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28 thoughts on “Tempura Pilchards And Cabbage Parcels

  1. YUM!!!
    This look so good!
    I eat a lot of canned fish also, I seem to crave it if I don’t have it a few times a week. I would love to try this dish 🙂

  2. I love the idea of using can pilchard for tempura…so much easy and I bet you is very flavorful…great recipe Tandy.
    Have a lovely week 😀

  3. Interesting solution to the challenge, Tandy. I’d never have thought of tempura! Looks tasty. I’d also thought of making rice balls, but went for my first idea in the end, my husband threatened to go on strike if I didn’t as he liked the sound of the fish cakes so much.

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