These homemade mini fish buns are filled with spiced potato and canned mackerel. They are great for breakfast, lunch, snack, or lunchboxes and freezer-friendly too. This Sri Lankan fish Bun ( Maalu Paan) is soft, spicy, and very delicious. Find the detailed recipe with alternative ingredients below.
I am here with another favorite snack that many Sri Lankans enjoy having. These Sri Lankan Fish buns are a very popular bakery item. I grew up having these fish buns for breakfast, lunch, and as a snack for tea. We have these buns along with other bakery favorites which are, fish rolls, cutlets, patties,seeni sambol buns, and more. In Sri Lanka, we call it short eats ( small snacks), and you can find these in any Sri Lankan bakery. Although we enjoy these short eats (snacks) bought from a bakery, we love making them at home. The bakery version has more potatoes than fish, but we prefer it the other way, and homemade is always the best!
My mum is an excellent cook, and some of my aunts are great bakers. I grew up watching them bake and cook whenever they get together. My mother is the eldest in the family with one brother and six sisters. So everyone visits our home mostly, and they cook and bake tirelessly, which was fun, and I learned a lot from them. This Fish bun recipe is a family recipe that I am sharing with you, which brings back lots of memories.
Let’s go to the recipe.
This dough recipe is an egg-free recipe, and I have been using it for many of my bread recipes like Sri Lankan Egg & Seeni Sambol buns, Paneer Stuffed Buns, and Mini Cheese Pizzas with few changes here and there.
I made the mini version of this as my son likes it, and it is excellent for kids’ lunchboxes, but you can make the regular sized fish buns if you prefer. These Fish buns freeze very well for up to 3 months. This recipe makes 20 mini buns, 12 medium, and 10 large buns.
Ingredients for Sri Lankan Fish Bun recipe
Potatoes – The recipe calls for one medium potato boiled. If you prefer more potato than fish in the filling, you can add 3 medium potatoes instead of one medium potato.
Fish – I used 1 can of mackerel in brine. You can replace it with 3 cans of tuna in brine.
Onion – Try to use red onion. You can also replace it with yellow, white, or brown.
Herbs & Spices – Garlic and ginger are essential in the recipe. Use minced garlic and ginger or grate it. Curry leaves are important for an authentic flavor. However, you can make it without it, or add some cilantro. Using green chili is optional.
Turmeric is essential in this recipe, avoid skipping it. Black pepper and chili powder can be adjusted to your preference.
Oil – I used vegetable oil for this recipe. Olive oil or coconut oil are great replacements.
Flour – Use all-purpose flour for this recipe
Yeast – I use instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast which might take a little longer in the rising. Always check the expiry date of the yeast. I regularly prove the yeast with sugar and a little warm water, before adding it to the flour to see whether the yeast is activating. If the yeast is old, the mixture won’t be frothy. This means you will have to start all over again with new yeast.
Water – It is important to use warm water (the temperature at 110°C ) Depending on the flour and the weather conditions you might need more or less water. Add the water gradually to get a very soft dough but not wet dough. If the dough is dry, add water, 1 Tablespoon similarly if the dough is too wet, add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until you get the correct consistency. Avoid adding too much flour.
Milk– Use whole milk and avoid using fat-free or low-fat milk. Use 2 tablespoons of dry milk instead of whole milk. If you are using dry milk, replace the 1 cup of whole milk with water.
Butter – Full fat unsalted butter or full-fat salted butter. If using salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.
Sugar – I use regular granulated sugar.
Egg wash – Use one large egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon water to brush on top of the buns. Vegetarians can brush the buns with milk or cream.
Fish Bun Recipe – Sri Lankan ( Mini fish buns)Course: Snacks, Lunch, BreakfastCuisine: Sri Lankan
They are great for breakfast, lunch, snack, or lunchboxes and freezer-friendly too. This Sri Lankan fish Bun ( Maalu Paan) is soft, spicy, and very delicious.
- Bread Roll Dough( Bun Dough)
500g/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons/6.30 g instant yeast
1 cup / 240ml of whole milk( room temperature)
½ cup/ 120ml of warm water
30 g/ 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter( room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Egg Wash – one large egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon water/ milk
- **Fish Filling**
1 can( 425g) of Mackerel or 3 cans of tuna in brine crumbled
2 medium / about 275g boiled potatoes (mashed with a fork)
1 medium/ 100g red onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1′ inch ginger minced
2 green chilies sliced( optional)
4-5 fresh curry leaves chopped
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/ 2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (according to your taste)
- Bread Roll Dough ( Bun Dough)
- Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the center.
- Add warm water and milk to the flour mixture and knead it to form a very soft dough.
- Next, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough springs back.
- Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it somewhere warm for 1 hour or till the dough is doubled in size.
- Place a pan on medium heat with 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and fry for a minute.
- Add the crumbled mackerel or tuna followed by chopped curry leaves, and fry for 3 minutes.
- Next, add minced ginger, garlic, turmeric, and stir to mix. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Now, add the mashed potatoes, salt, black pepper, red chili powder, and sliced green chilies. Mix until well combined and cook for 5 more minutes. Take it off the heat and cool completely.
- Filling the Buns
- After an hour, punch the dough down, leave it to rest for 10 minutes and shape the dough
- Divide the dough into half. Next, roll each half into a log and divide each log into 10 equal size pieces for mini buns.
- Roll each ball of dough into about 3-inch circles(Picture 1). Place 1/2 Tablespoon of fish filling in the center. Bring the upper right corner of the circle to the center(Picture 2 ). Next, bring the upper left corner of the circle and overlap it, and slightly pinch the edges. ( Picture 3)
- Lastly, overlap the bottom part of the circle, slightly pinch to make a triangular-shaped bun. ( Picture 4 & 5 )
- Place the triangular buns on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Cover and let it rise until double in size, about 40 minutes. (depends on how warm the room is)
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190° C / 374°F
- After 40 minutes, gently brush milk or cream on top of the buns.
- Bake the buns till golden brown for 15- 18 minutes.
- Serve warm.
- These Fish buns freeze very well for up to 3 months. This recipe makes 20 mini buns, 12 medium, and 10 large buns.
- You can replace the mackerel with 3 cans of tuna in brine.
- Using green chili is optional. Black pepper and chili powder can be adjusted to your preference.
- Kid-friendly – leave green chilies and red chili powder out.