Whitebait Fritters

Recipes | Brunch | Pan-Frying Serves 6 as an entrée Whitebait Fritters

This recipe is made in New Zealand during the brief season when Whitebait is available. In Australia it’s often seen on Italian restaurant menus as ‘neonata’ (meaning ‘new born’) and is usually made with frozen Chinese Whitebait. If using frozen Whitebait, thaw it in the fridge overnight.


1 cup plain flour 
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for shallow-frying
⅔ cup water
1kg Whitebait
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt flakes, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving


Combine flour, egg, oil and water to form a thin batter the consistency of pouring cream; add a little extra water if necessary.

Pat Whitebait dry, then fold through the batter.

Heat oil in a frying pan.

Working in batches, add tablespoonfuls of the Whitebait mixture to the oil and cook for about 2 minutes each side, until well coloured. Set aside on paper towel to drain.

Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with parsley and salt and serve with lemon wedges.

Alternative species:

Very small school Prawns, very thinly sliced Loligo Squid or Southern Calamari.

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