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Hooked on Herring – Tales & recipes from around the world by Jacqueline Hagan

Published 5th November, 2016 in Behind the Book

Thai Green Curry Fishballs

Herring goes very well with all kinds of curry spices and pastes. It’s a strong-tasting fish and can cope with strong flavours.

These fish balls are great as tapas or as snacks with drinks. They’re not very ‘fishy’ tasting and are popular with most people – even kids.

Makes about 20 small balls.


  • 12 herring fillets, skinned and dried
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 coriander roots
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai green curry paste (from a jar is fine)
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk powder
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon or lime
  • 1/2 cup (15g) fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Spray oil


Put all the fish ball ingredients except half of the citrus zest in the food processor and blend. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in batches.

Make sure the texture is smooth and solid – if too wet, add more coconut milk powder.

Shape into small balls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking – this is necessary to ensure they don’t break up when cooking.

Heat barbecue to very hot and spray hotplate lightly with oil.

Put fish balls on the hotplate and keep the lid open. Leave for at least three minutes and test carefully with a spatula to see if a crust has formed before turning. If you move them before the crust is formed, they will break apart.

Roll balls over and continue cooking other side. When a crust has formed on the second side, continue to roll them about to brown evenly.

Drain on kitchen paper.

Insert a toothpick into each fish ball and serve with coconut dipping sauce.

Coconut Dipping Sauce


  • 2 tbsp coconut milk powder dissolved in 1/2 cup (125ml) warm water OR 2 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a small red chilli, finely diced
  • Zest 1/2 lemon or lime (reserved from fish ball ingredients)
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped


Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

If you’re reconstituting the coconut milk from powder, make your sauce at least an hour before you need it so that it cools to room temperature.

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