Hamsi: What To Do With Those Annoying Leftovers

As far as seasonal food in Turkey is concerned, this time of year is our favourite. We’re still enjoying pomegranates, young citrus fruits are starting to appear in their winter abundance on the markets …and hamsi is on Fethiye fish market. We love hamsi!

Last week, we took ourselves off to the fish market to purchase our favourite seasonal fish. We bought a kilo between us, had it all cleaned by the fish mongers and then brought it home to eat for dinner. (Click this link to see our deep-fried hamsi recipe.) So the cat was fed, dinner was eaten and we were both full to the top…with still an annoying amount of crispy fish remaining that neither of us could eat. But hamsi is too good to be throwing away!

Turkish Food - Hamsi or Anchovies

Leftovers from a kilo of hamsi

We sat staring at the serving plate and the remnants of our meal. Not enough that was worth saving for another meal each. And then Barry came up with a bright idea and decided on lunch for the day after – hamsi and rocket fishcakes. 
A (Not Very) Turkish Recipe For Hamsi Fish Cakes
There are recipes online for hamsi köfte (a small fish cake) so our version is not an entirely not-Turkish-recipe, it’s just that we decided to go the more comfort-food-route and make large, potato-filled fishcakes of a more British variety.
This recipe makes 5 large hamsi fish cakes.
  • Peel, chop and boil one large potato. (The large potatoes in Turkey are very large so use two potatoes if you’re elsewhere and in doubt.)
  • Once the potato has softened, drain and allow to steam in the pan for a minute or two.
  • Allow to cool and then mash your potato together with a tablespoon of flour and an egg.
  • Remove the stalks from your rocket and roughly chop the leaves. Add them to to the potato mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper. We also added chilli powder, but this is optional.
  • Now throw in the hamsi (we had about 200g left over) and mash everything together.

Now it’s time to make the mixture into hamsi fishcakes.

Hamsi Fishcakes

Coat your fishcakes in flour

  • Sprinkle flour over a large serving plate.
  • And now it’s time to delve in and get your hands messy. Roughly divide your potato mixture into 5 balls and form and pat each ball into the shape of a thick burger.
  • Now place each fishcake onto the serving plate and turn them over so they are coated in flour on both sides.
  • Cover the base of a frying pan in oil and heat.
  • Fry the fishcakes for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until they are golden.

And now it’s time to serve and eat your hamsi fishcakes.

Turkish Recipe - Hamsi Fishcakes

Hamsi Fishcakes with a serving of ketchup

You can serve your hamsi fish cakes with a side salad and the dressing from our hamsi recipe but, as you can see in this photo, we kept is simple. Sometimes a large dollop of good old tomato ketchup will more than suffice.

(Hamsi is currently 7 TL per kilo on Fethiye fish market. 7 TL’s worth of hamsi made us an ample evening meal, lunch the day after and the cat was fed twice. We think that’s a good deal!)

Afiyet Olsun!

Don't miss a thing! Subscribe NOW for FREE updates straight to your inbox...

* indicates required


  1. Fantastic! Love fish cakes of almost any sort, but this seasoning looks perfect.

  2. @ Belinda: We love fish cakes too so it seemed only natural we give them a go with hamsi. Glad it worked out! 🙂

  3. I will have left over mackerel tonight – now I know what to do with it.

  4. @BacktoBodrum: Oh yes, mackerel would be a great alternative to hamsi. any strong tasting fish is good for us. 🙂

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.