Fried Fish sticks with french fries, dipped into a homemade Tartar Sauce, that’s what I call summer food! In fact fish sticks, better known as fish fingers in India and the UK, have become a very popular beach food dish in Goa and that for a good reason.
Learn how to make your own crispy fried fish sticks, easily form scratch, with the step by step recipe, tips and video further below.
Fried fish sticks have never been considered a health food because they are deep fried. Yet I love them, it’s my comfort food!
Fish fingers can be baked too and they taste great baked as well if you prefer less oil in your food. I mention this in the recipe further below as well.
Yet, most households in Asia don’t own an oven, so I thought I would make a how to make fried fish sticks in a deep frying pan video to explain the process. Also, it’s literally impossible to let an oven run in the high summer months in Asia, a simple stove won’t heat up an apartment that much compared to an oven. Ovens are still a rarity in Asia, most people rely on gas stoves to prepare their food and fried food is very popular.
I prepare fish sticks from scratch at least once or twice a month during the hotter days in the year, mostly on a Friday, because Friday is fish day according to our customs in Europe.
Fish sticks are a common sight all over the Indian subcontinent and thanks to the British they are better known as Fish fingers in food joint. Fried fish fingers can be found in almost 90% of all the beach shacks in Goa because of their popularity as a quick snack.
Personally I don’t just consume fish sticks as a snack, I actually prefer them as a main meal with homemade french fries, served with Tartar dipping sauce and a light green salad with vinaigrette dressing. Or another popular version of serving fish fingers in my house is with red cabbage or some kind of mash potato variation.
Fish sticks are easy to prepare at home. Get a quality piece of fish filet cut into smaller stick sizes and cover with egg and some kind of a coating such as breadcrumbs. I like the simple breadcrumbs variation as a coating as it’s the simplest and if you are making fish sticks from scratch for the first time, try to use breadcrumbs to make it easier for you.
You could also use a different coating to suit your needs or to make the fish sticks Gluten-free, such as with crushed Cornflakes, Panko and Cornflour. The different coatings will create variations of fish fingers and will determine the crunchiness and of course the flavor.
Fish sticks sold commercially are most made with ground fish and the ones made with real fish filet are considered higher quality and are usually market with a seal on the package.
What you will never find in store bought fish sticks are flavor variations such as with herbs or spices, which is just another reason for you to make your own fish fingers at home!
White fish variations are suitable to prepare fish sticks. The meat should be tender but firm and should contain less fat. So don’t go for a fish such as shark as the fish meat is more like rubber. In the western world pick something like cod and flounder fish.
In India and other parts of the world you get different fish variations, I picked a fish known as morso in konkani (Goan language), which might be cobia fish type (although I am not so sure). This fish has a great mellow taste and the meat keeps well together, so that I can fry it without the fish fillet falling apart.
If you are not sure which fish fillet to buy, ask you local fish seller, they will guide you, if you mention that you are planning to make fish sticks.
You can get a big fresh filet piece and cut it into smaller ~3 inch long sticks. Make sure that there are no bones left in the fish fingers and cut off any of those close to the fish skin dark grey/brown fish meat pieces as those taste awful in fish sticks.
A many, not so good restaurants in Goa and elsewhere, tend to make fish sticks from scratch with the grey/brown fish parts, just so that they can cash in more on an order. That absolutely destroys the wonderful flavor that you are looking for in a fish, so make sure to cut off the brown fish meat, which is the bloodline and on the edge of the fish, and you are good to go.
Then cover your fish sticks with scrambled raw egg, with your breadcrumbs herb mixture and deep fry until golden crisp.
To freeze, cut a big piece of fish fillet, do the egg and breadcrumbs coating, place the sticks raw into zip-lock bags and freeze. Next time, you just need to take them out, leave them out a bit to defrost and then just deep fry. This works well with a breadcrumb coating, however I would not suggest to freeze when you use another coating such as cornflakes, because the cornflakes will get soggy while defrosting.
How to make crispy fried fish fingers/sticks video
Fried Fish Sticks Recipe with fresh Fish Fillet and Herbs
- 350 grams white Fish Fillet (~24 small fish sticks) - pick a white fish like cod, halibut or cabo, a fish that remains firm while frying and which tastes neutral (ask your fish guy)
- 1 small Egg
- 6 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Marjoram or simply 1 more Teaspoon Oregano instead of the Marjoram
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- Cooking Oil to deep fry
- Prepare your fish fillet first. Look out for any fish bones and skin remainders, cut off and discard. Cut your fish filet into sticks and keep aside.
- In a bowl scramble the raw egg and keep aside. Get another bowl and add the breadcrumbs oregano, marjoram, salt and pepper, mix that content well.
- Now you need to cover the fish sticks one by one with the coating. You start by covering a fish stick with the scrambled egg then directly place it into the breadcrumbs mixture bowl and cover it there equally with the breadcrumbs by rolling the fish stick into it. The egg is like a glue between fish meat and breadcrumbs mixture, it will hold the coating together. Repeat the coating process until you have all the fish sticks ready and finished coated.
- At that point you can freeze some or all of your fish sticks by placing them carefully into ziplock bags. Whenever you want to use them, just defrost the fish sticks completely first and then deep fry.
- To deep fry the fish sticks, heat up oil in your fryer or in a deep frying pan. Wait until the oil is very hot, NEVER add the fish sticks when the oil is not hot. Test by sprinkling tiny amounts of breadcrumbs into the cooking oil, if it catches and starts to bubble around the breadcrumbs, you can add your fish fingers to the cooking oil. It might splash a little bit, so be careful and prepared. DON'T over crowd your pan or they will take too long to cook, a too crowded pan reduces the heat of the oil a bit, which is not necessarily what you want when deep frying anything.
- Watch them carefully and turn them when they get golden on one side. Once the fish sticks are equally golden on both sides, which is a matter of a few minutes only, you can take them out by shaking off carefully excess oil, and placing them into a previously prepared dish with paper kitchen towel. Tap them a bit dry, to absorb excess oil with some more paper kitchen towel.
- Serve warm with Tartar sauce, french fries chips or wedges and a small green salad with vinaigrette.
Serve the fish sticks with dipping sauces 🥄
… serve with a salad 🥗
- Caprese Salad
- Greek Salad
- Surimi Salad with Curry Mayo dressing
- Couscous Paneer Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Iceberg Salad with Thousand Island Dressing
- Quail Eggs Salad
Dear reader, have you ever tried different fish stick flavor variations?
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