Moroccan Fishballs in Lemon Sauce Recipe. Chicken and Beef Variations

These Fishballs are our Moroccan/Sephardi answer to Gefilte Fish, easy, fragrant, zippy and delicious.

No problem using this exact recipe for fishballs using meat or poultry: Simply substitute ground beef, chicken, turkey, or lamb, and proceeding exactly as instructed below. You will turn your fishballs into turkey balls, meatballs, lamb balls etc…

If you make these fishballs with a Gefilte fish roll as your starting point, I can tell you with great authority that the results will be severely affected. Grinding fish in a food processor is a breeze and takes seconds, and will make you the best fishballs. Don’t compromise on this point, or it will in turn compromise your finished dish: A risk definitely not worth taking!


Cooking liquid

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Good pinch saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cups water

Fishballs  mixture

  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small bread roll (gluten-free OK)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia, salmon or other fish fillet, boneless and skinless

Lemon Sauce ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style-style mustard
  • 1 egg yolk (skip if you are egg-restricted)
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley


Bring all cooking liquid ingredients to boil in a wide heavy pot.

Meanwhile, make the fishballs mixture: in a food processor, grind all fish mixture ingredient to a smooth paste. Transfer the fishballs mixture to a bowl. Form oval fishballs, and throw them gently in the pot as you go. Reduce the flame to medium and cook, covered, 30 minutes. Take out the fishballs carefully with a slotted spoon, and transfer onto a platter. Reduce the cooking liquid to about 1 cup. Remove from the fire; add the sauce ingredients and stir vigorously with a whisk, just a few seconds, working quickly and thoroughly so as not to give the egg time to scramble.

Pour the sauce over the fishballs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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