Moroccan Spicy Fish Balls

These are an instant favourite in my house. I make them for Shabbat dinner and even the kids gobble them up. The secret is to use a minced fish that isn’t fishy smelling or fishy tasting. I have a confession to make: I am a fish snob. I can not stand fishy smelling fish. First of all, if a fish smells fishy and not like the ocean as it should, it means it isn’t fresh. Here in Montreal, I only buy my minced fish from one place: Yannis Poisonnerie on Victoria. I bought minced fish from other fish places, including grocery stores, and I’ve almost always had to throw it out. Not fresh. Also, I once asked the owner of Yannis why his minced fish is so good and he said because it is a blend of three types of white fish.
For the Fish Balls:
2 lbs minced white fish
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. fish seasoning
1/2 c. fresh coriander, chopped
pinch of salt and white pepper
1 c. bread crumbs
For the Tomato sauce:
1 large can 796ml of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. fish seasoning
salt and white pepper to taste
1 red pepper, julienned
1 wedge of a preserved lemon or the juice of a half of lemon
1/2 c. fresh coriander, chopped
To make the fish balls. start by placing the minced fish in a large bowl. Now roll up your sleeves because you can’t use a spoon for all this mixing.
In a small bowl, place the breadcrumbs and just enough water to cover the bread crumbs and to form a paste (about 1/4c.). It should not be runny. If you put too much water, no worries and just squeeze out the excess water. Putting the water in the bread crumbs allows the bread crumbs to moisten, resulting in super soft balls.) Set aside.
In another bowl, mix the ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and fish seasoning together.
Put the spice mix into the soaked bread crumb bowl and mix thoroughly.
Add the minced fresh coriander. Mix well.
Take that mixture and mix it into the minced fish.
Form the balls, about an inch wide, and place on a plate.
To make the tomato sauce: In a large frying pan on medium heat, put 2 tbsp. olive oil and add the can of diced tomato.
Stir in each of the spices listed above. Add the chopped fresh coriander and stir.
Add 1/3 c. of water and add the julienned red peppers. Add the wedge of preserved lemon, if using. Bring the sauce to a low boil.
Arrange fish balls in frying pan and if using the lemon juice,  pour the lemon juice over the fish balls. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, or until balls are soft and tender.

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