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Siba Mtongana is the Queen of Convenience. She shows you how to make a meal in no time; and provides the kind of tips that’ll make something you whipped up in under an hour look like you’ve been slaving over the stove all day. With four kids, she is also the queen of the lunchbox. Here is her lunchbox friendly fishcakes recipe.

Siba’s lunchbox friendly fishcakes

Serves 4 – 6

Preparation 15 minutes

Cooking time 15 minutes


  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 t butter chicken curry spice or mild curry powder, heaped
  • 375 g butternut peeled, cooked and mashed (it should be dry, not too wet)
  • 60 g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 120 g panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 x 170 g cans tuna in brine, drained
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 T smoked BBQ sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and spring onion and cook for 1 minute. Then, add the curry powder and stir for 30 seconds, taking care not to burn the spice.
  2. Next, add the mashed butternut and stir and until combined. Add the flour, a heaped spoonful at a time, and stir well. Stir in the drained tuna until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Switch off the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly until cool enough to handle. In a tray or plate, mix the extra flour and breadcrumbs. Heat a nonstick pan with enough oil for shallow frying. Shape 2 T spoonful of the mixture into a ball using your hands. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  4. Dust the fish cakes in the breadcrumb-and-flour mixture flattening them slightly to form mini fish cakes. Cook each one oil 1½ minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other.
  5. Gently remove from the pan and drain on wire rack lined with kitchen paper. Allow to cool completely before packing into an airtight container to refrigerate or pack for lunch.

Recipe by Siba Mtongana

Also see: Easy lunchbox ideas for busy parents

Siba’s recipes reflect her local roots, international food trends and some of the exotic flavours and ideas she’s picked up on her travels around the world. You’ll find ways to jazz up salads and veggies; discover deeply satisfying roasts and mouth-watering fish dishes. Her ‘Local is Lekker’ section provides a personal take on an array of traditional South African favourites. Sibalicious!
Download some of our favourite recipes from Welcome to My Table by Siba Mtongana