Navy Bean and Tuna Fish Cakes

Navy Bean and Tuna Fish Cakes

These fish cakes are an adaptation of my mother’s recipe for Kerala Fish Cutlets. This version is a working woman’s recipe that can be prepared much faster and still tastes amazing.

Traditionally, they are made with potatoes instead of beans and a lot more spices than the ones my recipe calls for. One can find beef, chicken, mutton and fish cutlets all over Kerala and depending on the region and type of meat the ingredients differ. They are all equally lip-smacking but the beef ones hold a special place in my heart.

Years ago, my poor mom made fifty cutlets for my elementary school party upon my request. She used a tablespoon as a template to make perfect oval-shaped beef cutlets and fried them so carefully that they all looked as though she painted each one golden brown with the exact amount of paint. I took them to school, neatly arranged on a glass platter and walked into my classroom proudly…so proud that I was hesitant to share them with my friends as I was afraid they would demolish my pretty art and wolf down my cutlets. So, I guarded them with my heart and soul…but only for a while and then I got distracted and forgot about them. Childish. I know. But my excuse is that I was actually a child! Now you know how much these savoury cakes mean to me through that little story.

This fish cake recipe with navy beans is delicious! One of my fondest memory about my mom’s cutlets is having them with ketchup and tea on cold rainy days. Nothing beats crisp fried spicy fish cake with hot Cardomom Chai !

Navy Bean and Tuna Fish Cakes

Serves 7 Cakes
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 6 minutes
Total time 21 minutes
Meal type Appetizer
Misc Serve Hot


  • 1 cup Navy Beans (Cooked or Canned)
  • 1 can Tuna (Drained and approximately 120 g)
  • 1/4 cup Red Onion (Very finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Cilantro (Very finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons Jalapeno or Green Chilli (Very finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Oil (Enough to Fry)


Mash the beans really well and add all the ingredients except egg, breadcrumbs and oil and combine well.
Oil your palms to prevent sticking and make little patties out of the mixture. I got 7 patties of 2.5 inch width and 3/4 inch thickness out this batch. You can make them in any shape or size of your wish.
Dip them in egg wash and roll in breadcrumbs to coat evenly.
Fry them on medium-high for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Oil temperature is key. You can deep fry them but make sure that at least half their thickness is covered in oil when in the pan.

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