What’s cooking today: Fish cakes with dill-lemon mayo

What’s cooking today: Fish cakes with dill-lemon mayo
Tony Jackman’s air fryer fish cakes. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Leftover braaied snoek and some canned tuna in brine, drained, were put to use in a mixture for fish cakes cooked in the air fryer.

With food prices being so outrageously high, nobody likes to waste leftover food. I found myself with some leftover snoek the other day, so I thought about my options for using it. Snoek makes a lovely pâté, so that was one possibility. Then I glanced at my air fryer which seemed to be saying, “me, me!…” The air fryer won, so air fryer fish cakes it would be.

But almost any cooked fish can be used, although personally I would veer away from strong-flavoured fish such as mackerel. This snoek was fresh, so had not been smoked, which would have made the flavour profile quite different.

Fish cakes need more than fish though. A herb such as parsley is commonly used in them, or coriander if going an Asian route. Lemon or another citrus such as lime is also good in them. Some additional freshness from snipped chives works a treat too; I used garlic chives, simply because those are the ones that I grow. A touch of mustard went in along with lemon, and the mixture was bound with cooled mashed potato, flour and egg.

A bit of necessary shaping has to follow, and the best way to do this is with your (clean) hands. It’s a bit messy but it’s all over very quickly.

(Makes 4 to 6 fish cakes)


1 cup shredded cooked snoek or other fish (no bones)

 2 x 170 g cans shredded tuna in water, drained

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 chives, snipped

3 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 Tbsp mustard

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 medium potatoes, boiled or steamed and then mashed

Salt to season the potato

2 heaped Tbsp flour

2 eggs (one for the mixture, one for the coating)

1 slice day-old bread, turned into crumbs

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

For the dill mayo:

⅓ cup mayonnaise

Juice of half a lemon

2 Tbsp chopped dill (or fennel, or parsley)

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste


Steam or boil the peeled potatoes. Mash them, adding salt to taste. Leave to cool. (Don’t worry about adding butter, it’s only a component of another dish.)

Remove the fish from any possibility of bones and place in a bowl, in small bits.

Drain the tuna well and add it.

Add the chopped onion, garlic, chives, parsley, lemon zest and mustard and stir to combine evenly.

Add the mashed potato and flour, salt and black pepper to taste, then beat one egg and add it.

Use your hands to work the mixture until it’s all thoroughly combined.

Beat the other egg. Have the breadcrumbs ready in a bakkie, and some flour in another.

Shape the mixture into fish cakes. Roll each fish cake in the flour first, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Pat them down a bit with your palm to get the right shape.

Preheat the air fryer to 200℃.

Air fry at 200℃ for 8 minutes.

Turn them over carefully and air fry for another 4 minutes at 200℃.

Mix the lemon and dill into the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish the fish cakes with parsley and lemon. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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