Tortas de Pescado Seco (Colombian-Style Salted Cod Fish Cakes)

by Erica Dinho on December 10, 2012

Tortas de Pescado Seco (Colombian-Style Salted Cod Fish Cakes)

Tortas de Pescado Seco (Colombian-Style Salted Cod Fish Cakes)

A couple of years ago I was craving my Mamita’s Colombian-Style Salted Cod Fish Cakes. I went to the nearest Colombian restaurant and ordered two of them with arepa on the side. It was a poor version of what my grandmother and mom used to make, but I still savored it to the very last bite. They were as close to Colombian Tortas de Pescado Seco as I could find, so far from home.

I was craving them again couple of weeks ago and I decided to make them at home, so I called my aunt in Miami for Mamita’s recipe, and they turned out just as I remembered! I love the way all the flavors came together in perfect harmony. My family served them with arepa, or plain white rice and salad on the side.

Buen provecho!

Tortas de Pescado Seco (Colombian-Style Salted Cod Fish Cakes)



(About 12 Cakes)

  • 1 pound of salted codfish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 potato, cooked and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground achiote or color
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Tortas de Pescado Seco (Colombian-Style Salted Cod Fish Cakes)


  1. Soak the codfish overnight in water, changing the water 3 or 4 times.
  2. In a medium pot, with enough water to cover the salted codfish, cook for about 15 minutes. Strain and remove any bones, and let cool. Set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan warm the olive oil, saute onion, scallions, red bell pepper, tomato and garlic until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium bowl place the beaten egg, flour, and salt in a bowl. Add codfish, cumin and achiote. Shape into patties and fry them in a skillet with vegetable oil for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Raquel (Thoughtful Eating) December 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM

My dad just gave me some salted cod so I’m definitely going to have to try this out! Thanks.


2 Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz December 10, 2012 at 7:17 PM

They look so awesome. I have never used salted fish before. I am not sure what to do with it. But this recipe is inspiring.


3 Jenn and Seth December 10, 2012 at 7:21 PM

those look soooo delicious!! I just want to stick a fork right in that fish cake and take a huge bite :)


4 Joanne December 11, 2012 at 6:57 AM

If you want it done right you’ve got to do it yourself! These look great and way better than any crab cake or other fish cake I’ve ever had!


5 Juliana December 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I love this salted cod fish, we call bacalhau back in Brasil…and it is so good…I just cannot find it easily here where I live :(
Yours look awesome Erica.
Have a great week!


6 Nancy/SpicieFoodie December 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

I love seafood and fish cakes. These look incredible! I love that they are your family’s recipe. Thanks for sharing:)


7 Kim December 11, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Love the idea of adding potato in place of breadcrumbs or panko (as with most fish cake recipes). Looks really yummy!

Hope you have been doing well and enjoying the season!


8 Angie@Angie's Recipes December 12, 2012 at 12:30 AM

They are delicious, Erica. I am very sure I will love these too.


9 Belinda @zomppa December 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM

I get you about the craving for salted cod…these are beautiful!


10 Maria Carolina December 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM

I make your cod and yuca fishcakes all the time but usually sub whatever kind of fish I have on hand such as canned tuna or salmon. They are so delicious and even my dad who does not like fish gobbles them up!


11 Nicolas December 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM

We made them today for lunch and my whole family loved these tortas de pescado. They tasted just like my mom’s. Thank for these wonderful Colombian food site.


12 Francisco March 30, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Thanks for the recipe. We use to have these on fridays during lent, or even on Good Friday. I remembered my mom would serve them with white rice. It brought a lot of memories. Family is coming on Sunday, am going to cook them and see what they say? Thks


13 Gloria C. April 18, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Great recipe, but I have one question, When do you use the mashed potato?
Me encanta esta receta, tambien he comido pescado seco en escabeche con arepa ocañera.


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