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overhead: 3 fish meatballs sitting in homemade labneh on a blue plate
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5 from 2 votes

Palestinian Fish Kofta Meatballs + Video

Palestinian Fish Meatballs include flaky cod, fresh herbs, aromatic spices and red chiles. Make these kofta meatballs for a starter or light meal!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Resting Time5 mins
Total Time43 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 433kcal
Author: Kevin


  • 6 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups large red onion diced (1 large)
  • 1 ¼ cups large white onion diced (1 large)
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 ½ lbs cod fillets skinless, boneless, cut into 1 ¼ inch chunks
  • 2 red chiles fresno or red jalapeño, 1 diced, 1 sliced into rings
  • ¾ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • ¾ cup fresh dill chopped plus few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 lemon 2 teaspoon zest then cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoon Fish Spice Blend ingredients below
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cup plain Greek yogurt or Labneh

Fish Spice Blend

  • 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika smoked or sweet
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder


  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Put 3 tablespoons of oil into a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • In a food processor, pulse the chunks of fish a few times until broken down a bit. Add the cooled onion mixture, chopped chile, herbs, lemon zest, egg, 2 teaspoons of the fish spice mix, sumac, salt and black pepper. Process again until finely chopped but not a complete paste.
  • Using a 3 tablespoon scoop or your hands, shape the mixture into about 16 meatballs.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the kofta and brown all over in batches of 2 or 3 and fry for about 4 minutes, turning often.
  • Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 4 or 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes to slightly cool.
  • To serve, spread the labneh or yogurt evenly on plate and top each with 3-4 cod meatballs. Sprinkle the kofta with sumac, dill sprig and sliced chile. Drizzle last tablespoon of oil over and serve, with a lemon wedges.

Fish Spice Blend

  • Whisk together in a small bowl to combine. Store in an airtight container if not using right away. I like to blitz this mixture in a spice grinder to make the salt powdered and thoroughly mixed, but this is optional.



Make Ahead Instructions
Fish kofta meatballs can be made up to a day in advance – up to the point where they are about to go into the oven. Once cooked, they can be eaten immediately or refrigerated and served the next day. Serve either at room temperature or warmed through.
Recipe adapted from Sami Tamimi


Sodium: 720mg | Calcium: 145mg | Vitamin C: 80mg | Vitamin A: 1969IU | Sugar: 7g | Fiber: 4g | Potassium: 1166mg | Cholesterol: 116mg | Calories: 433kcal | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fat: 24g | Protein: 38g | Carbohydrates: 18g | Iron: 3mg