Sesame Fish Sticks

Fish sticks don’t have to come from a box; they’re easy enough to make. A friend recently gave me a great cookbook for kids (thanks, Nicky!) that had this fun-sounding recipe for sesame fish sticks, just the thing you might be able to convince a kid to try cooking. I didn’t have any kids close by to corral into cooking today, but made some for my folks (do they count as kids?) who loved them. The original recipe calls for serving them with tartar sauce or ketchup, but I think the sesame coating goes well with an orange or Asian dipping sauce; I’ve included recipes for both.

Sesame Fish Sticks Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

If you don't want or have sesame seeds, just dredge the fish sticks once more in the flour after you've coated them with egg, for plain fish sticks.

Ingredients

Fish Sticks

  • 1 1/2 lbs fish fillets (cod, tilapia, red snapper, halibut)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • Vegetable oil

Orange marmalade dipping sauce

  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of powdered ginger or 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Spicy sweet and sour dipping sauce

  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Method

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1 Rinse the fish fillets in cold water. Cut them into approximate 1 inch by 5 inch pieces, following the lines of the fillets. Remove any bones that may remain in the fillets. Lay out 3 separate dishes for dredging, one with flour that has salt and pepper sprinkled and mixed in, one with beaten egg, and the last with sesame seeds. Dredge the fish sticks first in flour, then in beaten egg, then in sesame seeds. Reserve to a plate.

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2 Put enough vegetable oil in a large skillet to generously coat the bottom of the pan (about 1/4 cup). Heat the skillet on medium high until the oil is shimmering. Test the oil by dropping a bit of flour into the pan, if it sizzles the pan is ready. Working in batches, add the fish sticks to the pan, leaving enough room around them so that they aren't crowded. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until they are well browned on all sides. Remove the fish sticks to a plate lined with a paper towel. Keep warmed in the oven at 160°F while you finish frying the other batches of fish sticks. Add more oil as necessary to the pan to keep the bottom of the pan coated as you fry subsequent batches.

3 To make either of the dipping sauces, put the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, let cook for 4 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and let cool a little before serving.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Fun Food, 25 Delicious Recipes That Kids Can Cook.

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Links:
Monk fish McNuggets from Ayun

22 Comments

  1. jackie

    These look yummy and I will definitely try them for my daughter. I’ve also made them using a coating of breadcrumbs (whizzed up day-old, dry bread in food processor) and I’ve seen recipes in a kid’s cook book suggesting rolling them in cornflakes

  2. Whitney

    ooo, these look good. I’m always on the look out for fish recipes. I don’t know why but fish is kind of intimidating. I live in Japan so I should be eating much more fish since it is so readily available. The problem is that I can’t read very much on the label (which has led to some very salty salmon dinners) and that most of the fish in my local grocery store (that isn’t sushi grade (? or at least all ready to be cut up into sashimi)) has skin and bones which makes the whole process that much more intimidating. But this recipe looks really good so maybe it’s the impetus I needed.

  3. Patricia Scarpin

    Yum!
    These fish sticks look so delicious, I wish I could grab some. :)

  4. deanna

    fantastic! I love fish sticks but hate myself for buying the processed ones. I will be trying this very soon!

  5. jennbec

    Not much of a fish fan myself but thinking this general method/recipe could be easily adapted to tofu or chicken, don’t you think? The sesame coating and dipping sauces sound wonderful!

  6. Ellen

    We have the same cookbook and made the same recipe (we being my 7-year-old son and I) and we found this recipe not all that great. The taste was pretty bland ( and you have to LOVE sesame seeds) and it is very messy to make with the beaten egg part. Were I to do it again I would season the flour with something – paprika, herbs, whatever worked – and insteaad of using beaten eggs, I’d recommend milk instead. Many times making “chicken toes” (with 9-year-old daughter) has proven that to be a better method.

    Thanks for your feedback Ellen! Yes, you do really have to love sesame seeds to like this recipe. And it is a bit messy. The sauces that I made with for the fish sticks are what I think really make the dish. ~Elise

  7. Lady Amalthea

    I love the idea of using a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce instead of the boring tartar sauce or (worse) ketchup. Definitely makes it a more adult taste.

  8. Maki

    I’m guessing it’s super crunchy with the sesame seeds. I’ll have to consider giving it a try versus buying my fish sticks.

  9. Anna

    A woman at our local farmer’s market suggested rolling fillets in instant mashed potato flakes before frying. A possible suggestion for those who do not like sesame seeds.

  10. Dania

    If you don’t like Sesame Seeds, you could always just use Panko! Just happens to be my new best friend in the kitchen for making Fish sticks and Chicken fingers for the kids..I was using breadcrumbs which I found a little heavy. I love these dipping sauces, both for fish and chicken. :) For a cheaper fish, but just as good, not as thick mind you as say cod or haddock is pollock. I had never tried it before but was recommended by my fish monger to give it a chance, I’m glad I did! It’s just as mild as tilapia as long as you get fresh filets.

  11. meeso

    This is great, my daughter enjoys fish sticks but I hate buying them…this is a much better, and tastier alternative!

  12. Alex

    I made these with chicken, but I didn’t have enough sesame seeds at the end so i used some chopped walnuts…it was pretty good. For the sauce I used soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and sriracha.
    Next time I think I’ll add some panko bread crumbs in addition to the sesame seeds so I don’t use as many.

  13. Sara

    This looks yummy! Would it be possible to bake instead of fry?

  14. Deborah Dowd

    This will get me off my panko crumb breading of everything. I love the way these look and I think the asian dipping sauce is a great idea. Even duck sauce would be a great accompaniment!

  15. Kevin

    When the kids (ages 5, 9 and 11) heard we were making fish sticks they said “eewww!” I said that these fish sticks were nothing like what they get in school. They had a lot of fun rolling the fish in the flour, eggs and sesame. I thought that the sauces were wonderful, but the kids shied away from them. They enjoyed the fish sticks, but preferred to eat them plain or with ketchup. (eewww!)

  16. Anne

    I love sesame and fish–these look fabulous!

  17. Lisa

    What a fun dish!

  18. Linda

    Hi Elise,

    Your Fish Sticks look tasty!

    I make chicken fingers alot for my youngest son.
    I season my flour then dip in egg then bread coating to fry in oil but I use alot more oil in my pan than you do well at least its canola oil okay lol.

    To make bread coating I take any white bread made with yeast like leftover hot dog buns, bagels and break it up and dry it out in the oven at 200 degrees for about 2 hours then process in my blender. Then put this in a screw top container. It keeps for weeks.

    Thanks for a great blog!

    Linda in Washington State

  19. Michelle

    I run a business that teaches healthy cooking classes to children – I am thrilled that your post is getting such great feedback from parents. I think that during the dinner-time rush it is easy for parents to forget to include their kids in the kitchen… But it certainly pays off! Kids who help cook are much more likely to eat their creations than those who have dinner “imposed” or forced upon them! I’ll try this with my kids, for sure – and definitely with the sauces you created!

  20. Kathy

    Has anyone tried baking these?

  21. Sarah

    These are delicious and so easy! I didn’t have sesame seeds, so I tried a few with breadcrumbs and a few dredged again in the flour – both were delicious. I added just a dash of cayenne pepper and some Tony Chachere’s to the flour. It added some flavor, but didn’t make it spicy. With a side of steamed broccoli, this is a quick and tasty meal. Next time I’ll try the dipping sauces – they sound delicious! Thanks, Elise!

  22. rachel

    I make these all the time for my son — he loves them. I no longer bother making the dipping sauce — I just use whatever asian-type sauces I have around (leftover potsticker sauce, for example). Thanks for the recipe.

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