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Sri Lankan Fish Buns

Ratings 4.5 from 9 votes
Cooking Method
Courses ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 20 min Rest Time: 110 min Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 12

Try my easy fool-proof recipe to make delicious Sri Lankan Fish Buns. A soft fluffy bun filled with a spicy potato and mackerel filling. Best for a savory breakfast or as a snack or to serve with tea.

    For the Filling
  • 500 grams potatoes (Waxy type)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 large green chilies chopped or sliced (reduce for low heat)
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves chopped
  • 1 can of mackerel (425g)
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes (reduce for low heat)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • salt to your taste
  • For the dough
  • 450 grams all purpose flour
  • 245 grams lukewarm milk (yes measure in grams)
  • 1 Egg
  • 22 grams sugar
  • 20 grams butter
  • 7 grams instant dry yeast
  • 9 grams salt
  • For the egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon milk
    Make the Filling
  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters. Boil with salted water. Drain completely and let it cool down. Mash them using a fork. Make sure it's chunky, not fully mashed into a paste.

  2. Heat coconut oil in a large saute pan. Add curry leaves. Then add finely chopped garlic and chopped/sliced green chilies. Fry for a few seconds. Do not wait until garlic becomes brown.

  3. Then add chopped onion. Mix well. And let it cook until onions become sweaty. 

  4. Add chili flakes, turmeric powder, and a bit of salt. Saute. Adjust the chili flakes for your taste

  5. Move the onions to a side of the pan. Add your mackerel (make sure the liquid is completely drained) mash the mackerel pieces using the spatula/spoon.

  6. Mix well with the onions and saute well. 

  7. Add your freshly crushed black pepper and salt if needed. Mix well.

  8. Finally, add your mashed potatoes and saute for another couple of minutes until everything combines. 

  9. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Let the mixture cool down.

  10. Make the dough
  11. Add lukewarm milk to your mixer bowl. And then add yeast (and a little bit of sugar if you're using active dry yeast or not sure if your yeast is good). Let it sit for a few seconds. It should start to make foam on the edges immediately. If not, your yeast could be expired. Throw it out and start again with new yeast. 

  12. Now add very softened butter, sugar, egg, and mix with a spoon. Lastly, add salt and flour.

  13. Knead the dough for 8-10mins in the mixer until the dough becomes soft and pliable. (hand kneading instructions are included in the recipe description)

  14. Make the dough into a ball using your hands. Apply some oil to the bowl. Put the dough in. Apply a few drops of oil on the surface of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap.

  15. Let it doubled in size. It may take around 45mins to 1 hour depending on the temperature of your house. 

  16. Degas the dough by punching it down. Transfer the dough to your benchtop.

  17. Shaping and Baking
  18. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces using a bench scraper or a knife. 

  19. Make them into balls. Roughly about 65g -70 g each. Arrange them on the bench. Cover with a plastic wrap nicely and let them rest for 15mins.

  20. After 15 mins, you'd notice that they've puffed up a little and easy to work with. Take one ball out. Keep the rest of them covered all the time. Flatten it out with your hands until it's about 5 - 6 inches in diameter. Make sure the middle is slightly thicker than the edges. So buns nicely dome up in the middle when they bake.

  21. Now flip your dough so the smooth side goes down. This means you get the smoother side on the outside of the bun when they’re baked. Put roughly about ⅓ cup of filling in the middle.

  22. Now fold two upper corners to the middle as you make a triangular shape. (please refer to the attached photo) And pinch the edges together to seal.

  23. Then fold up the lower ⅓ edge to the middle to completely cover the filling. Pinch the edges again to seal the filling inside.

  24. Flip it upside-down so the sealed edges go under. Now using your hands you can reshape it to make it look perfect. Reshaping is completely optional.

  25. Arrange on a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap so it wouldn't dry out. Always keep all the dough pieces covered so they don't dry out and harden the surface. Repeat the process to all the dough balls and arrange the triangles on the baking sheet. Make sure to leave plenty of space between each triangle so they have enough space to rise up and wouldn't stick together in the oven as they puff up in the oven. Let them rise again until they become double in size. This time it would take relatively less time to rise up. (around 30 - 45mins) Do not overproof/wait too long, they'd collapse in the oven.

  26. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425F or 215 C.

  27. Mix egg yolk and milk together to make the egg wash. When the triangles are doubled in size, apply the egg wash using a pastry brush or a silicone brush.

  28. Bake for 12 - 15 mins in 425F preheated oven until they're golden on the top. Let them rest and cool down for at least 20 mins for the crumbs to set before you serve them.

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