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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fish Balls

1 Large Smoked Tuna
2 eggs
4 Garlic Cloves
3 hot green peppers
1/2 an Onion
1 Green/Bell pepper
A small piece of ginger (about 1 segment of a finger)
Black pepper
Cooking Oil (enough for deep frying)

I went hunting through Kaneshie market for a large smoked tuna. They sell them whole, half or even a quarter so that if you don't want to buy much, you don't have to. I chose the largest one I could find. The lady selling told me it would cost GH¢ 16.00. I promptly offered her 12. She aquiesced so readily, I realized I could probably have got it for 10, but oh well. Another important thing to remember when buying smoked Tuna is that it is salted prior to smoking, this gives it a longer shelf life, so-to-speak. The salt can be excessive, so insist on being given the non-salted Tuna. Even this version is not salt free, just less salty. Some offer you a teeny bit to taste before you buy, usually I see that as enough proof and can go ahead and buy it.

Smoked Tuna is not the prettiest to look at but since the skin is usually washed off, it doesn't really have any bearing on the final product. In Ghana, whole smoked fish is smoked with the inards, head gills etc. still inside to maintain the shape of the fish. It is up to you to remove all unwanted parts before you use it.

I start by removing the head, which will usually come away with the gills. Just pull the head upwards sort of by the chin, to expose the neck ( if fish had them). Now seperate the fish along the main bone so that you end up with 2 halves. This should give you access to the stomach content. Since it is all smoked, it should have a firm consistency  and should seperate from the main fish easily. Remove the fins and as many of the bones as you can see.

Rinse the fish thoroughly rubbing off all the skin and residue of insides. Set it aside and carefully start flaking it into a bowl, removing any remaining bones as you go.

Place the half onion, peppers, garlic and ginger in the Asanka and mash. You could go ahead and blend them if you prefer.

Now I chopped the bell pepper, cracked 2 eggs into the spice mixture and sprinkled some garlic and herb powder over the lot, stirred it up and then mixed the the tuna flakes into it.

The mixture will still feel dry and crumble easily as you shape your balls. Add an extra egg if it feels too dry and cannot hold the shape. I chose to deep fry some and bake the rest.
Half of the balls went into the fridge, while I greased a baking tray with a little of the oil, the flattened the rest of the balls so that they would bake more easily. I preheated the oven then turned the heat down halfway when I put the tray in.

I checked after about 5-7 minutes and turned over those that were browning.

For the deep fried balls, I heated the oil in a small pot. With a smaller pot, you don't have to use as much oil to get the necessary depth needed (enough so that the balls can float) as you do witha bigger or shallower pot/pan. Make sure the oil is very hot. To make sure, put in a sliver of onion or a clove of garlic, when it browns and starts to go dark, pull it out, it would have flavoured you oil nicely and the oil is ready.

Fry the balls in batches and remove to a seive as soon as they are golden brown.

Serve with rice, yam, potatoes and gravy, or as finger food. 


  1. OMG...this looks delish! I have to try this...unfortunately I dont have access to the smoked tuna :(

  2. Hi Rose, I just realised that the reply I had posted didn't appear. An alternative to your problem would be getting a fleshy fresh fish, steam and flake it and then proceed as the recipe asks.

    El Boat, let me know how it goes :)

  3. Great article. I read this article properly. This is one of the best posts. Thanks sharing this article
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