Mamta's Kitchen

Mackerel Koftae or Cutlets

Machli Kofte or Cutlets

Maya Sen

Aunty Maya or nani Maya as our daughters called her, is a great Bengali cook. She used to visit her late daughter Krishna in UK every year, until Krishna's untimely death in 1988. She gave us many a superb Bengali meals whenever she visited. She lives in Kolkatta (old Calcutta). This dish is excellent example of her expertise. You can serve it as a snack with drinks. The mix can be shaped into balls or cutlets of any shape of choice. You can pan fry them in less oil, instead of deep frying. Makes 16-18 pieces


  • 250 gm. (about 1 cup) smoked mackerel or haddock or plaice or any other fleshy fish. You can use tinned mackerel, but smoked is the tastiest.

  • 1 medium onion, peeled

  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled

  • 2 green chillies, stalks removed

  • 3 large potatoes, about 500 gm.

  • 1 small bunch or handful coriander leaves, cleaned and finely chopped.

  • 1 bay leaf (optional)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/4 tsp. Garam Masala or 1 tsp. roast cumin, coarsely ground

  • 1 egg

  • For deep frying

  • Oil of choice. I generally use rapeseed oil.


  1. Boil, peel and mash potato. I boil them in a microwave steamer for 10-12 minutes on full power.

  2. Remove skin and any bones that may be there, from the fish. Mash the flesh. Discard skin and bones

  3. Grind onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor or chop very finely by hand. Do not make a paste.

  4. Mix all the ingredients except egg thoroughly.

  5. Add egg and mix.

  6. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or so for the flavours to mingle.

  7. Make small balls with wet or oiled palms. Wetting/greasing the palms stops the mix from sticking to your hands.

  8. Deep fry in medium hot oil, turning gently, until golden brown and crisp on all sides.

  9. Place on an absorbent kitchen paper.

  10. Serve hot with Green Mango Chutney.

  11. If you want to make a kofta curry, make a Basic Curry Sauce and add the fish balls to boiling hot curry sauce, just before serving. Do not add koftas to the gravy too far in advance, they become too soggy and disintegrate. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with Boiled Rice and Chapatties.


  • Do not fry in very hot oil, it makes them soggy. The oil temperature is correct when a kofta dropped in oil sizzles and rises to the top gently. Koftas can be served cold, so they are ideal for a picnic.

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