Gefilte Fish

How to Make Gefilte Fish Video -scroll down for recipe

This might put me on some people’s shit-list, but when I was in middle school we hung out with a kid named Brandon who was not Jewish and we were not Jewish and in fact I didn’t meet my first Jewish person until I was in my mid-20s but at any rate, through some undoubtably hilarious circumstances I can’t recall, my friend Sarah and I nicknamed him “Gefilte Fish”. Truthfully, none of us had any idea what gefilte fish was actually, but we thought it sounded funny and it got Brandon’s goat and we thought that was really funny. He remained “Gefilte Fish” throughout middle school, but he still hung out with us so I guess he didn’t really mind all that much.

Turns out gefilte fish is actually a kind of fish-dumpling that’s an important part of the Passover Seder. I’m going to stop there because my knowledge of Judaism is pretty much just what Amy told me while we shot this episode. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by these — tender little fish dumplings with a kick-ass horseradish-sour cream sauce. Plus, her recipe uses salmon which is non-traditional, but I daresay probably more tasty. Definitely more tasty than jarred gefilte fish. DEFINITELY more attractive than jarred gefilte fish.

Huge thanks to Amy from WhatJewWannaEat for coming on the show and sharing her recipe with us!

Homemade gefilte fish recipe

Gefilte Fish Recipe

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Homemade Gefilte Fish

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • For the stock:
  • 1 quart fish stock (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 celery heart, sliced
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the gefilte fish:
  • 3/4 pound boned salmon
  • 3/4 pound boned whitefish (turbot, cod, pike, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, fine diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Horseradish sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. For the stock: Pour into a large soup pot and add 2 cups of water. Add the garlic, celery, and salt and pepper. If you are skinning your fish yourself, add the fish skin, too. Squeeze the lemon into the broth and then drop the rind in, too. Bring to a boil, then simmer while you prepare the fish balls.
  2. In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion until soft, or about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Chop the fish into fine pieces and place in a bowl. Add the cooled onions, eggs, matzo meal, parsley, salt, and pepper and combine. The mixture should be firm enough to be able to form into balls. If it is too soft, add a bit more matzo meal, if it is too hard add a bit of the fish stock.
  4. Form 2-3 tablespoons of the fish mixture into smooth balls and set aside. You should get 12 balls.
  5. Add the balls to the simmering broth in a single layer and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the gefilte fish with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  7. To make the horseradish sauce, combine all ingredients.
  8. Serve gefilte fish warm or cold on a bed of lettuce with the horseradish sauce!

Notes

For a traditional gefilte fish, use another white fish instead of the salmon. Carp, whitefish, and pike are the classic fishes used. If you like, you could use a 1/2 pound of each of those instead.

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19 Comments

  1. Amy's Bubbe on March 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    My precious kinder,

    I am kvelling after seeing you create gefilte fish on video. Never has Passover looked more appetizing. I could almost taste it! You are going to put the cans and jars of gefilte fish out of business.

    Happy Passover!

    Your loving Bubbe

    • Amy on March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Bubbe! Glad Jew like the video!

    • Hilah on March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Amy’s Bubbe! I’m so happy you liked the video. The gefilte fish were delish. Happy Passover!

  2. Amy on March 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hooray the video came out awesome- thanks for letting me visit the show! Shabbat shalom!

    • Hilah on March 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      I had so much fun shooting with you! You’re gonna be our go-to Jew from now on if you’re amenable to that!

      • Amy on April 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

        Yes!! I have never been a go-to Jew before. Sign me up!

        • Virginia on April 3, 2020 at 10:35 am

          Last week I read the recipe though it look fantastic , today I made them but only read the items how to separate I, was too lazy or too busy .
          So the only thing about I’d all the items was the fish bro.
          I put all the rest into the mix and what delightful ,it turn out to be I can’t
          Believe I was suppose to be in Israel with Jews family were now going to have. Virtual Passover
          I’m very happy the flavor is extraordinary

          Thanks again virginia

  3. Great Stone Face on March 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    This sounds delicious. I’ll try it, but maybe add some grated carrot and/or parsnip to the fish mixture, because I’m used to it being a little sweeter.

    • Hilah on March 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Mmm, carrot would add a nice color, too. I read that there are two versions: Galitzianer (with sugar) or Litvak (with pepper). Carrot or parsnip sounds like a good alternative to sugar.

  4. bob on January 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I’m trying your recipe–but, frankly, your video, with all the giggling, is VERY off-putting. Did Julia Child giggle? Does Lydia giggle?

    • Hilah on January 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Wow, geez, thanks so much, Bob, for the honor of trying the recipe. And yes, Julia Child DID giggle and had a lot more fun in the kitchen than you probably do. Sheesh.
      P.S. Who the hell is Lydia?

      • B in FL🌴 on March 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm

        Ahahaha ‼️ 🤣 Ahahaha ‼️‼️‼️

        Who’s Lydia? Gotta just love it❣️

        Yeah!! Ease up bro!!! Cooking should be a fun and relaxing event… enjoy‼️

  5. Stephen Epstein on March 26, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Just wondering if i can freeze them prior to serving?

    • Hilah on March 27, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      I’m not sure, Stephen, but my hunch is that they would not freeze well

  6. Dave on March 19, 2021 at 2:56 am

    It would’ve been better had they explained what they were doing and what they were putting in the bowl rather than talking and laughing, without saying what they were doing.

  7. Nanci on March 22, 2021 at 6:51 am

    I loved this video! It made me really want to try the recipe this Passover. I have eschewed gefilte fish since the jarred version was my only experience. Your giggling made the video so fun and sweet. Thank you!

    • Hilah on March 23, 2021 at 6:11 am

      Hope you do try it, Nanci!

  8. rhonda brami on March 26, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    I’ve never made gefilte fish before end it always sounded so difficult. I looked up a few other recipes and they were so hard to do. This recipe was so easy and the video was excellent! And it tasted good as well!

    • Hilah on March 27, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Rhonda! Homemade is SO much better than jarred gefilte fish

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