Icelandic Fishballs


Icelandic Fishballs

Photos and narration by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.

Fishballs can either be made from raw or boiled fish, usually cod or haddock. Raw fish is either scraped or processed with a machine. Fishballs from boiled fish are commonly known as dauðar bollur or ‘dead balls’, although they are just as tasty.

Bring the water to boil. Put a few fish fillets into the boiling water and then turn the heat off. After about ten to 15 minutes, take the fish fillets out of the casserole and leave to cool. You may want to save the water that was used for boiling the fish to make soup later on.

Put the fillets into a sieve to remove excess water and then put the fish into a bowl. For 300 to 400 grams of fish, grate one onion. You can also add a few gloves of garlic and press them with a garlic press.

Season with one to 1.5 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Some recipes also include 1/2 to one teaspoon nutmeg. Use a hand mixer to blend the ingredients.

Then add three tablespoons flour (or whole-wheat) and 1.5 to two tablespoons potato flower. You can also replace the potato flower with breadcrumbs. For 300 to 400 grams of fish, add one egg to the mixture, but two or three for a larger portion of fish.

Finally add some milk or cream, one to 2.5 deciliters, or until all the ingredients stick nicely together. Melt some butter in a frying pan and then make fishballs with the aid of a tablespoon. If you use boiled fish you don’t have to fry the balls for long. Just fry until each side has acquired a golden color.

Then boil some potatoes to serve with the fishballs. A salad made of grated carrots and apples is excellent with this dish. Include some orange juice and raisins to make the salad perfect. No sauce is necessary for the fishballs, only a slice of good salted butter or melted butter with fresh chives or parsley.

Since making fishballs takes some time and effort, it is common to make a considerable amount of the delicacy at the same time and then place a sufficient number of fishballs for one meal into separate bags and store in the freezer. Then, for the next meal, the fishballs only have to be reheated in the oven or the frying pan.


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This multimedia slideshow was originally published in November, 2008.

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