Portuguese Cod Fish Balls – Bolinho de Bacalhua

Cod Fish Balls

Bolinho de Bacalhua

One of my fondest memories as a teenager is attending my boyfriend’s birthday party.  His mother always made these Bolinho de Bacalhua – Cod Fish Balls on his birthday (and everyone else’s birthday as well).  I love them to the point of addiction. Though it has been more years that I am willing to admit, I still have Mrs. Nunes’s recipe written in a small notebook.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.


  • 1 lb salt cod
  • 1lb potatoes peeled
  • ½ white onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tbs fresh flat parsley chopped finely
  • 2 eggs separated
  • Oil for frying
  • Lime for serving

Soak salt cod for 3-4 hours to draw some of the salt out of it changing the water frequently.


  • In a saucepan boil the peeled potatoes until nearly tender.  Add cod and cook for 5-7 minutes until cod is cooked.
  • Drain, leave to stand for five minutes in a colander so that any water has a chance to evaporate.
  • Put the boiled potatoes through a ricer.
  • Using your hands, break cod into small pieces resembling flakes and add to riced potatoes.
  • Add parsley, minced onions and salt and pepper.
  • When cooled add the 2 egg yolks and set aside. Stir well, incorporating all the ingredients evenly.
  • In a clean bowl whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add egg whites a bit at a time to fish mixture by gently folding in making sure that it is well combined.  Add a little more egg white and fold in until all the egg white is used.
  • Put this mixture into the fridge and leave for 30 mins or longer.  This will allow the mixture to chill and make it much easier to handle.
  • Remove from the fridge and roll into small balls or make quenelles with two spoons, take a heaped spoon of mixture and with the other spoon firmly push the mixture off, repeating this a couple of times until you have a smooth quenelle.
  • To fry, fill a pan with at least 2 inches of sunflower oil.  The oil is ready when a tiny bit of fish mixture is dropped into the hot oil and it floats to the top.
  • Gently drop into the oil the quenelles.  (I found that I could cook 3 quenelles at a time).
  • Turn them over regularly so that they have a even color.
  • Once golden brown drain and place on paper towel put the next batch in and while they are frying place the cooked quenelles in a low oven to keep warm.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This