Salt Cod Doughnuts

The tradition of salt cod is loyally followed in our house every year and it is a very popular dish amongst friends. Thus, our table is always fully booked on this day.

The 25th of March, the Feast of the Annunciation, is a day that traditionally belongs to pan-fried salt cod. A dish commonly known as Fish & Chips that is consumed all year long around the globe. In Greece though, fried salt cod is connected with this particular day. To be honest, for years I couldn’t really understand why. I’ve also heard many friends wondering why, why do we get to enjoy those delicious, crunchy bites only once every year (at least the majority of us)?

But when I think about it a bit more maturely, I can clearly see why. We live in a land that is blessed with the freshest and most delicious fish (I strongly believe that) and it would be a shame if we regularly consumed preserved, cured, fried fish instead of beautifully cooked or grilled fresh fish, the way our Mediterranean tradition teaches us. Healthy and light recipes that Greeks know how to truly master. Wherever I travel to –and I always search for places with good food- I never have high expectations when it comes to seafood. I’m almost always disappointed and that’s probably because of Greece’s excellent quality in seafood. Thus, fried salt cod is definitely considered junk food for us!

But why salt cod specifically and why on this particular day? In honor of the Feast of the Annunciation it is allowed to make an exception during Lent and enjoy a meal with fish. As it wasn’t particularly easy to find fresh fish in mountainous areas on this day, dried and salted cod was the optimal option. It could be easily preserved and found even in grocery stores. Its price was another important factor as salt cod was a lot more affordable. On the contrary, the tradition of salt cod does not appear so often on the islands where people had access to an abundance of fresh fish.

The tradition of salt cod is loyally followed in our house every year and it is a very popular dish amongst friends. Thus, our table is always fully booked on this day. Our cod is considered delicious. To be honest, the recipe is my mother’s therefore all credit goes to her and even though I always make her recipe with great results, I believe her cod is incomparable.

The secret to her recipe lies in the preparation of those tiny, crunchy bites. Something like doughnuts! They’re so small, crunchy and tempting that we all somehow end up having eaten more than twenty of them! Another little secret is that we try to only have cod and salads on our table and no extra dishes-distractions so that we remain focused on this delicacy that we cook so rarely in our daily lives.

This particular dish is traditionally combined with a garlic and potato spread which you either love or hate. Personally, I have to admit I’m not a big fan. We’ll have our own dip though! Our doughnuts always dive into fish roe spread! Yummy!!

Don’t forget to buy your cod in time so that you can desalt it early enough. I usually need 3 days. The process isn’t too hard, all it takes is some good scheduling.


This is an undoubtedly delicious dish, just like any junk food that wants to be taken seriously. Even though it’s loaded with quite a bit of salt and oil and it’s also pan-fried, we can enjoy it with no remorse once or twice every year, it’s a traditional “must” after all!


1kg cod fillet (skinless and boneless)

300g self-rising flour

350-400ml blonde beer

1tsp baking powder

2tbsp chopped mint or chopped fennel

1tsp smoked powdered paprika

Frying oil

Salt, pepper


1. Three days earlier. Cut your cod fillet into small square pieces. Wash the salt off very well and place them in a big bowl, cover it and leave it in the refrigerator. Change the water 2-3 times per day.

2. The last day. Strain the fish and place it on a thick layer of kitchen paper to dry out and get rid of the excess of liquids so that you can avoid splashing oil while frying.

3. When the fish is dry enough, tear it apart with your fingers into small pieces. It might take a while. That’s how you’ll get rid of any hard parts or forgotten bones.

4. In another bowl mix beer with flour and baking powder. Even though cod is quite salty, I add a tiny bit of salt in the mixture, and pepper, of course. We want our batter to be not too thick but not too thin either, more like a quite thick sauce. We’ll add chopped mint or fennel and smoked paprika. You can choose to keep your batter plain if you want. Add the pieces of fish in the batter and stir gently.

5. Heat oil in a frying pan and start adding small quantities of your mixture. Remove them when they’ve turned golden on both sides. Place them on a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain the excess of oil. Your doughnuts are ready!