West Coast Whitebait Patties

"Whitebait is a bit of a delicacy in New Zealand, and whitebait from the West Coast of the South Island is the best. The idea is to have more whitebait than batter, however it you go to a restaurant you will probably find that it's the other way round! West Coasters also serve them with mint sauce which is very tasty. Another thing to do is heat the oven to 50degrees C, and butter 4 slices of white bread. Put these on a plate in the oven (butter side up) and as each whitebait pattie is cooked put them on the bread. Us kids used to fight over the bread at the end as it tastes yummy(strange but true)."
photo by LilKiwiChicken photo by LilKiwiChicken
photo by LilKiwiChicken
Ready In:


  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 12 cup milk
  • 34 cup flour
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 500 g whitebait
  • 2 tablespoons light vegetable oil (for frying) or 2 tablespoons butter (for frying)


  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then mix in the milk.
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Lightly beat through the flour & baking powder to ensure there are no lumps. Add the flour slowly - the mixture should be thick & runny but not too gloopy.
  • In a colander, rinse the whitebait and pick out any river stones or other debris.
  • Drain, and mix into the egg mixture until well combined.
  • Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat, and once heated, add the butter/olive oil.
  • Drop in dessert-spoonfuls of the whitebait mixture, and cook until the pattie is set (& starts to go golden on the underside). The whitebait will normally have gone white at this stage.
  • Turn, and cook on the other side until golden.
  • Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve, in my house they get eaten as fast as they are cooked!

Questions & Replies

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  1. Made these today for lunch, served with the bread, what a reception, not to fussed on whitebait myself but I tried a pattie before serving, absolutely lovely can see why people rave about it, am a fan now.
  2. This is how I remember my Dad making whitebait fritters. Served with some lemon wedges & a few potato fies & buttered bread. Followed your idea of putting them on buttered bread while in the oven. Hubby & I really made little piggies of ourselves on these for our dinner. Thanks for the memories:) Will be making this again when someone gives us some more whitebait...LOL :)
  3. I cook my bait the same way but swap the milk out for a good larger beer and super yummy
  4. yum that recipe worked well on tasmanian white bait
  5. Somehow it still tasted OK with Canterbury whitebait, but in all honesty - how were those little beggars meant to know they had swum up a river on the wrong coast.



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