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Pataniscas de Bacalhau ❦ Portuguese Salt Cod Fritters

These delicious little fritters are a popular Lisbon tasca snack, (tasca, a tavern or bar, especially one serving food). Served as a snack or alongside rice, usually arroz de feijão (red kidney bean rice), or arroz de tomate (tomato rice) it is a delight. The fritters are made with uncooked salt cod, that has been desalted and rehydrated. It is then shredded and mixed with a light batter, similar to tempura. Some cooks precook the cod and instead of beer use milk, plain water or sparkling water. I like the taste the beer adds and makes them so light. Another secret to my fritters success is the cake flour. I use superfine self rising cake flour. Some cooks seperate the egg yolks and beat the whites into meringue, I have done this nut found no difference in lightness, in fact mine are still lighter. Traditionally these fritters were made using salt cod scraps, but I make mine with loin for the ultimate indulgence.


Pataniscas de Bacalhau ❦ Portuguese Salt Cod Fritters

30 minutes

Makes about 12 fritters




200 g. Superfine self rising cake flour

120 g. Chopped onion

400 g. Salt cod, uncooked but that has been desalted and rehydrated, shredded and clean of skin and bones

180-200 ml.Beer such as Stella Artois. You may not use all of it

2 Cloves of garlic, minced

1 Lemon, cut into wedges to serve

3 eggs, 2 whole and 1 yolk only, beaten

A good handful of flat leaf Italian parsley to taste, leaves only finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp. salt (fine sea salt)

Pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. Ground nutmeg

400 ml. Olive oil to shallow fry . This is the perfect quantity for a 24 cm. frying pan

*You can use vegetable, sunflower, rapeseed or corn oil, but the wonderful flavour of olive oil really enhances these.


  1. In a large bowl add flour, salt, onion, garlic and parsley and strii to combine. I like a fork for this. Now add in beaten eggs. Mixture will be very thick. Slowly start adding the beer until you obtain a not too thick, not too thin batter. You may or may not use all the beer.

  2. Add salt cod and stir to combine. Add a bit more flour if too thin and a little more beer if too thick.

  3. Stand your fork up in the middle of batter, if it drops quickly, it is probably too thin. If it drops more slowly, it's perfect,

  4. In a high sided frying pan, add and heat the olive oil to about 160°C (320°F)

  5. Line a clean plate with paper towels, set aside.

  6. Take a teeny tiny bit of batter and drop in hot oil. Cook for 30 seconds each side. Take out and taste. This will save you from having an entire batch of underseasoned fritters.If needed add more salt and or pepper to batter.

  7. Drop soup spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Using the back of the spoon, flatten each fritter a bit. Fry for 4 minutes on each side. They should be a lovely golden colour.

  8. place on paper towel lined plate.

  9. I fry 4 at a time in 3 batches.

  10. Serve with lemon wedges





Crawley,West Sussex UK

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