Fish arouk

Fish arouk

Rice cakes stuffed with fish

Cooking from the Heart
Mark Roper

It is best to cook these rice cakes in a stock made from fish bones. If you are not making the fish stock, just bring 3 litres of water and 2 teaspoons of sea salt to the boil in a large pot. When the water reaches the boil, lower the heat until the water is just simmering — if the water is simmering too rapidly, the arouk will break during cooking. If you prefer, after cooking them in the stock or water, you can then gently pan-fry them in some vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides.

Rice cakes


Quantity Ingredient
1kg long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
1kg spanish mackerel, minced
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoon sea salt


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1kg onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
500g firm white fish fillets, cut into very small pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped

Fish stock

Quantity Ingredient
2 fish heads and 1 fish backbone
3 litres water
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, (optional)


  1. To make the rice cakes, pound the rice using a mortar and pestle until you have a mixture of fine rice flour and some broken rice. Place in a large bowl, add the other rice cake ingredients and mix together well. Set aside.
  2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat, then sauté the onions and garlic until golden. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining filling ingredients and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Bring all the fish stock ingredients to the boil in a stockpot, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard the fish bones, but leave the stock at a gentle simmer while assembling the rice cakes.
  4. To assemble the arouk, place a large ball of the rice cake mixture in the palm of your hand and make a hollow in the ball. Place 1–2 teaspoons of the filling in the hollow, then encase the filling by pinching the edges over it. Flatten the arouk until it’s 3–4 cm wide, and at the most 2 cm thick. Repeat with the remaining rice cake mixture and filling.
  5. Add 4–6 arouk to the gently simmering stock and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Remove from the stock with a slotted spoon and set aside while cooking the remaining batches.
  6. Serve the arouk in a small bowl with some of the stock. Alternatively, you can eat them without the stock and serve them with a cucumber salad, or other fresh salad.
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