The secret behind a good whitebait patty (or whitebait fritter, depending on which coast of New Zealand you are on) is concentrating on the whitebait. It doesn’t need flour or any other fillers, just a touch of egg to hold the whitebait together and that’s it. Flavouring the frying oil with a touch of ghee also adds an excellent flavour.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (44 votes)


  • 500 g whitebait
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
  • 60 g ghee
  • soft buttered white rolls, lemon wedges, to serve

Minted salad

  • 2 cups torn baby cos lettuce
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup torn mint leaves
  • ½ cup alfalfa sprouts
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Mix the whitebait and eggs together, gently breaking up the eggs with a spoon. Heat the oil and ghee in a large frying pan over high heat. Drop 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the pan for each patty and shape them into patties in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden, cooked through and crisp around the edges. Drain well on paper towel. Season well with salt and pepper.

To make the salad, toss the cos, avocado, mint and alfalfa sprouts in a large bowl. Combine the yoghurt, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss to coat.

Serve the whitebait patties with the minted salad, buttered soft white rolls (smoked butter is a particularly good match) and lemon wedges.