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Brazilian Codfish Balls

Brazilian Codfish Balls (Bolinho de Bacalhau)

Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 20


  • 1 pound salt cod soaked
  • 2 medium baking potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parley
  • 2 large eggs separated
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt
  • 4-6 cups canola or vegetable oil for frying


  • Cut the potatoes into 8ths and boil for about 30 minutes until completely tender.
  • At the same time, boil the soaked cod for about 15 minutes until nice and tender, then place in a colander to drain.
  • While cooking the potatoes and fish, lightly sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil just until fragrant and very lightly softened. Remove from the burner and set aside.
  • When the potato sections have cooled enough to touch, peel off the skins and process the pieces into a large bowl through a potato ricer or a food mill with a ricer attachment.
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Heat the oil for frying.
  • Add the shredded fish, the cayenne, the egg yolks, parsley, cilantro, and the sautéd onions and garlic to the riced potatoes. Stir everything to mix well. Pinch off a little section and microwave it for about 20 seconds or so on high to taste for seasoning. Add salt as needed.
  • Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold them gently into the mixture, again being sure to mix everything thoroughly.
  • Shape the dough into balls about 2 inches in diameter and roll the shaped balls in the bread crumbs. Transfer to a sheet pan lightly dusted with bread crumbs to prevent the balls from sticking.
  • Deep fry the codfish balls in enough oil to cover, in batches of 3-4. About 4-5 minutes per batch or until golden brown.
  • Transfer the fried codfish balls to a sheet pan covered with paper towels to drain.
  • Serve warm, either plain, with hot sauce, or with a drizzle of fresh lime juice.


Salt cod can be found in many Asian and other specialty food stores.
To soak the salt cod, cover it in water and place in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours in advance of making the codfish balls. Change the water 4 to 6 times in that time frame.