International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Boulettes de Poisson

Boulettes de Poisson Recipe (Senegalese fried fish balls in tomato sauce)

(Senegalese fried fish balls in tomato sauce)

Image by Whats4Eats

Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

The Senegalese love eating these tasty little fried fish balls with a spicy tomato sauce or served over their famous rice and vegetable dish, ceebu jen. Use any kind of skinned and boned white-fleshed fish; cod, hake, perch, tilapia all work well.

4 servings


Fish Balls

  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Chile peppers, chopped (optional) -- 1 to 3
  • Parsley, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
  • White fish fillets, chopped -- 2 pounds
  • Bread crumbs -- 1/2 cup
  • Water or milk -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Oil for deep frying

Tomato Sauce

  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Chile peppers, minced (optional) -- 1 to 3
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
  • Tomato paste -- 2 tablespoons
  • Water -- 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Add the onion, chiles and parsley to to a food processor or large mortar and process until smooth. Add the fish and continue to process until smooth and pasty. Remove to a bowl.
  2. Stir the bread crumbs and water or milk together in a small bowl, then stir into the fish mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using oiled hands, form the fish mixture into golf ball-sized balls and set them on a tray.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or around 1-inch deep in a large pot to around 365°F. Add a few of the fish balls and deep fry, turning often, until golden brown on the outside. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining fish balls. Set the fish balls aside.
  5. For the sauce, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, chiles and garlic and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the water and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 4 or 5 minutes.
  6. Stir the fish balls into the tomato sauce and simmer another minute or two. Adjust seasoning and serve over rice pilaf or ceebu jen.


  • Use any type of hot chile pepper you like. Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers work well. Eliminate the peppers if you don't like spicy food.
  • Africans love Maggi® seasoning. Stir a crushed Maggi cube or a fish or chicken bouillon cube into the fish ball mixture for extra flavor.


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