Healthy Tropical Fish Burgers

Cooked fish patties in bowl

I love fish and there is an abundance of seafood in the warm water of the tropics. The variety of fish can inspire so many delicious recipes. However, on a hot day, you might not want to eat steamed or grilled fish, but a fish burger with fresh salad leaves might appeal.

This is a recipe that may also appeal to the fussy little eaters at home or to those who don’t like food with a strong fishy taste.


To create a healthy fish burger without using any starchy vegetables like potato or using any flour, use any firm white fish like bangus, grey mullet, sea bass, or rusty jobfish. They have a meaty texture that is great to be used as the filling without the need of any filler like flour or potato.

Hake, haddock and cod are also excellent fish to use for burgers, but as these are all imported cold water fish, they are usually frozen and more expensive. Hake and haddock are getting hard to source in many tropical countries now for that reason, and although frozen cod is more readily available in some upmarket supermarkets, the price might deter you from using it for fish burgers.

Cooked fish patties with sesame seed coating
Served on green leafy vegetables such as baby spinach, these fish burgers make a very healthy light meal. Image © Pooh Ling E

You can of course experiment with other firm white fish that you may find in your local seafood markets.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 8


For the fish burgers:

      • 500g firm white fish skinned, de-boned and roughly chopped
      • 2 tablespoons coconut flour or almond flour
      • 1 to 2 eggs, beaten
      • ½ big lime or a lemon, zest and juice
      • 1 garlic clove, crushed and roughly chopped
      • A big handful of coriander, roughly chopped
      • 2 tablespoons of chives or spring onions, roughly chopped (optional)
      • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or sugar free soy sauce
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
      • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil for cooking

For the coating/dusting:

      • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut flour or almond flour
      • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

For the tartare sauce:

      • 1 cup mayonnaise
      • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
      • ½ teaspoon sugar free mustard (optional)
      • 1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped (optional)
      • Small bunch of coriander finely chopped
      • ¼ of big red onion, finely chopped
      • ¼ green bell pepper, finely chopped
      • 1 green/red chili, finely chopped (optional)
      • 1 garlic clove, crushed
      • ½ lime, zest and juice
      • Pinch of salt
      • Some olive oil

You can serve the fish burgers with normal burger buns.

I like to use sesame seeds in the coating for my burgers because they have many nutritional benefits. Image: © Pooh Ling E

For gluten free and wheat free options, serve the fish burger on big leafy vegetables, such as lettuce. You can use romaine or little gem lettuce, with leaves separated, or baby spinach.


  1. To make the fish burgers, place the fish and all the ingredients for the fish burgers in a food processor and blend to a paste.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Form into 6 to 8 patties. Move them to a plate, cover and put in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes or chill them in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Mix the coconut flour or almond flour with the white sesame seeds. Only a little bit of flour is needed for dusting or coating purposes. Sprinkle the mixture on the fish burgers until they are roughly coated on the surface.
  5. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the fish burgers for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden-brown. Flip a few times, letting them cook for 2 to 3 minutes each time until the fish is cooked through. By flipping them more often and moving them around in the pan, it is less likely they will burn.
    Tips: to avoid an oily mess while frying, I like to just brown the fish burgers on the frying pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Then transfer them to a baking pan that is lined with a baking sheet and continue to cook in the oven at 200℃ for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip once, then continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. To make the tartare sauce, mix everything together in a bowl. To save time from chopping the ingredients, you can pop larger pieces of onions, peppers into a food processor and pulse a few times until they are chopped to the sizes that you want.
  7. Lastly to serve, put some tartare sauce on the burger buns or on the lettuce leaves and top with a fish burger. For Mediterranean style, you can serve the burgers with a tzatziki. If you are living in a hot and humid country, I would suggest eating with a sambal.

Header image: © Elena Veselova



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