Moroccan fish balls tagine (sardine or whiting fish balls), many ways of approaching it

Fish balls in Morocco are a coastal thing, and we have two coasts, which make fish balls tagines quite common. A fish ball tagine is even part of Moroccan street food of these cities.

Adding rice to the fish kofta is an option but it works well for large families or a larger crowd as you get more for less fish and everybody is fed. I prefer to serve white fish balls without rice but rather bread crumbs while the sardines fish ball benefit from the rice addition.

Cod, shrimp and rice fish ball tagine
The option to add vegetables in the tagine is also a matter of choice and seasonality. The usual suspects are celery stalk, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. And while the vegetables are added way before the fish balls to allow them enough time to become tender, green or purple olives, preserved lemon are added just when the fish is added to have just enough time to infuse in the sauce!

A wonderful fish and seafood tagine, served in a
famous street food chain in Casablanca.
It has a bit of everything including fish balls

There are two ways of starting a fish ball tagine: with a pre-made tomato sauce (see recipe below) or with bit of grated/finely chopped tomatoes on top of which seasoning will be added as the tomato melts down. You can even use 1 tomato and a bit of tomato concentrate for a less tomatoey sauce (my favourite)

Any rice will be fine, from basmati to arborio..sardine fish
balls can take all sort of rice

Start with a good homemade tomato sauce with a good quality tin of tomato if you cannot get hold of fresh juicy and sweet ones. A bit of tomato concentrate is always good to give a depth. A dash of smoked paprika is my tip to have a bit of that smoky charcoal effect we get if we were to let the tagine simmer over a kanoun or a brasero. Add a few bay leaves as tghey go very well with fish tagines.

Moroccan green onions called el kheddaria are
 available during spring season and they make
a real difference when added to any dish

Salt, cumin and a sprinkle of sugar are added at last to bring the whole thing together and finally a good glug of extra virgin olive oil

I keep batches of my sauce in a Ziploc, flattened, in the freezer for easy use anytime throughout the week. I have some with a blend of all the vegetables my child will not eat so it makes a nice cocktail to toss in his favourite pasta.

I personally love the fish tagines cold or warm. I even served the fish balls as appetizers once and it really works.

Whiting fish ball with thick tomato sauce and slightly sweated vegetables

Serves 4-6
Prep : 10 min – cooking : 20 min
For white fish balls
  • 500 g of white fish filet (whiting, cod..) 
  • 1 medium-size onion, grated
  • 1 green onion, chopped (replace with spring onion or leeks)
  • 1 cup of thick chermoula paste (mild or spicy)
  • 2 leveled tbsps of bread crumbs or a pre-soaked bread toast then squeezed

For sardines fish balls
  • 500 g of fresh sardine filets, skin off (if you go for mackerel, make sure you mix it with a bit of white fish as it’s a bit heavy)
  • 1 medium-size onion, grated
  • 1 green onion, chopped (replace with spring onion)
  • 1 cup of thick chermoula paste (mild or spicy)
  • 5 tbsps of long rice (uncooked weight), pre-cooked al dente
  • Salt to taste

Moroccan tomato sauce
  • 100 to 300g of good quality chopped tinned tomatoes or passata or grated fresh tomatoes (seeds discarded)
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup of chermoula paste or the following seasoning:

             - 3 tbsp of coriander and parsley, chopped
             - 2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
             - 1 tsp of ground cumin
             - 1 tsp of sweet paprika
             - Cayenne or hot chili or harissa paste to taste
             - ½ tsp of smoked paprika (my addition)
             - Salt to taste

  •  2 to 3 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil


Mix all the ingredients in a blender and shape balls as big as 3 cm. Cover with a film and place in the fridge for at least 30 min.

In a hot tagine or a saucepan, warm the oil and add in the chermoula or spices and herbs, the garlic. Fry and stir for a minute then add the tomatoes. Stir and cover. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it then cook covered until reduced. Stir from time to time as it might stick.

Add the fish balls all around, olives, preserved lemon and cover again. Let cook for 5 to 7 min them toss them to cover them with the sauce. Cover again and let simmer until the fish balls are cooked through (the ones with rice might need 10 more minutes).

Vegetables can be added to cover the base of a fish ball tagine,
they just need more time to cook before adding the fish
Drizzle more olive oil. Decorate with lemon wedges or serve them on the side.

Serve warm with a good bread.

Fish balls can be served as appetizers, you may want to make more sauce to serve it extra.


  1. Kindly fill me in as to whether you're searching for an article essayist for your site. You have some truly extraordinary posts and I feel I would be a decent resource. On the off chance that you ever need to take a percentage of the heap off, I'd totally love to compose some material for your web journal in return for a connection back to mine. It would be ideal if you send me an email if intrigued. Much obliged to you! Best wet grinder for Indian kitchen

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I can set up my new idea from this post. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable information for all,.. fly fishing for tarpon

  4. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! fly fishing for tarpon

  5. Oh my goodness! a huge article dude. Thanks However I am experiencing situation with ur rss . Don’t know why Not able to sign up to it. Can there be anyone getting similar rss problem? Anybody who is conscious of kindly respond. Thnkx does jellyfish die

  6. This is an awesome motivating article.I am practically satisfied with your great work.You put truly extremely accommodating data. Keep it up. Continue blogging. Hoping to perusing your next post. 먹튀업체

  7. The influx of bank repo boats in Florida has significantly increased within the past 12 months. Most people that like to fish know that there is a boat market where watercrafts are sold by the banks to people involved in the market. A lot of people that buy these boats from bankers do so because they can save quite a bit of cash; potentially thousands of dollars on each purchase. BoatsIreland

  8. Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it. Hiking In Salta

  9. On the other hand, cordless models are very useful when there is no power source near your working area or you are working in such a place which is very tiny or congested. In such places cords of a corded tool can bother you a lot. If you have an extra fully charged battery with you for long time work, you can go with a cordless handy man oscillating tool oscillating tools work 10 facts diamond drill bits tipstools

  10. This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not every day that I have the possibility to see something like this..


I'd love to hear from you!

Copyright © Nada's London kitchen . Designed by OddThemes