Empanada-style Sri Lankan fish patties with curry aïoli

Make these moreish Sri Lankan fish patties to feed a crowd. Served with a quick curry aïoli for dipping, they take a bit of effort but are well worth it

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:35 mins
    (frying in 3 batches) plus chilling
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 137
  • fat 10g
  • saturates 3g
  • carbs 9g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 2g
  • salt 0.2g


  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 80ml coconut milk
  • 125g potatoes (1 medium-large potato)
  • 500ml rapeseed oil, for deep-frying, plus 1 tbsp
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 150g canned mackerel or tuna, drained
  • ¼ small bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • ¼ lime, juiced
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise


  1. For the pastry, mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour until it’s the texture of breadcrumbs. Mix the beaten egg yolk into the dough. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, kneading the dough until it just comes together. Add a little flour or water if needed. Wrap and chill for an hour.¼½

  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Put a pan of water on to boil. Peel the potato and chop into 1cm cubes, then add to the pan and simmer over a medium heat for 10-12 mins until cooked through. Drain and leave to cool.

  3. Heat the 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for 8 mins until golden. Add the spices and black pepper, stir and cook for 1 min, then add the fish and dill, and cook for another 2-3 mins. Add the potato and salt, and mix well, cooking for 2 mins. Take the pan off the heat, add the lime juice and leave to cool.

  4. Break the pastry in half and roll out each half, in turn, on a floured surface to a depth of 3mm. If you have one, use a 7cm pastry cutter to cut out eight circles from each sheet of pastry, re-rolling the pastry and cutting circles until it’s all used up. There will be about 26-28 in total.

  5. Spoon 1 tsp of the fish mixture onto each of the pastry circles. Using a small pastry brush, brush some egg white along the edges of each of the pastry circles. Fold each one to make an empanada shape. Using a fork, press along the sides to ensure they are fully sealed.

  6. Pour 500ml oil into a saucepan making sure it’s no more than two-thirds full, and heat to 180C, or until a little piece of pastry starts to sizzle. Carefully deep-fry the patties in small batches for 2-4 mins, turning halfway through until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.

  7. Put all the ingredients for the aïoli in a mixing bowl, stir together and serve with the empanadas.

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