Sri Lankan Fish Rolls

Sri Lankan popular snack made with a spicy vegetable and tuna filling covered with a thin pancake, breaded and deep-fried until crispy and golden
sri lankan fish roles pinit View Gallery 4 photos
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Rolls are my favorite fast food snack (aka short eats in Sri Lanka) EVER!. This was the first food I missed when I moved to the USA, 6 years ago. Also, this was the first food I wanted to have when I went back for a vacation in Sri Lanka after 3 years. I couldn’t even wait till I go home from the airport, I asked my dad to stop the car at a bakery on the way home so I can have an egg roll. That’s how crazy I am about this amazing Sri Lankan snack, Sri Lankan Fish Rolls. 

Since I love Sri Lankan fish rolls so much, I wanted to learn how to make them right. I made so many mistakes, to be honest, but I learned so many tips from those mistakes. Here are a few problems I encountered over time and solutions for them. 

Pancake is not flexible: this means your pancake batter is too thick. Add some more water, a tablespoon at a time, and whisk well together. Also, don’t pour too much batter to the pan. You just need enough to cover the surface. Use a nonstick hopper pan if you have one. It helps a lot to get the pancake thin and evenly spread. 

Rolls taste bland even though you have a good filling: Add salt to the pancake batter.

Rolls burst open when you fry them: when you make the rolls, wrap the pancake tightly with the filling. The air trapped in the roll expands in the hot oil, make it burst open. 

Rolls absorb too much oil: Your oil is not hot enough. Take a piece of bread crumbs and put it in the oil. It should bubble up right away when the oil is ready. Also make sure to fry fish rolls in small batches. 

You may also like:

1. Crispy Chicken rolls with Habanero and cheese

2. Sri Lankan Egg Rolls

3. Sri Lankan fish cutlets

4.  Sri Lankan fish buns

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Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 40 mins Total Time 1 hr
Servings: 15


Sri Lankan popular snack made with a spicy vegetable and tuna filling covered with a thin pancake, breaded and deep-fried until crispy and golden


For the pancake batter

For the Tuna filling

For Breading and Frying


  1. Add oil to a pan. Then add onion and garlic. When they’re soft add carrots and cook for about a minute until carrots are tender. Now add chili flakes and some salt, mix, add potatoes, and tuna to the mix. Mash and mix everything together using a spoon. Add leek and black pepper at the end. Mix and cook for about a minute. Adjust salt. Let the mixture cool
  2. Whisk flour, milk, and water together to form a smooth batter. There should be no lumps in the batter. You can use a blender to mix this too.
  3. Heat a small nonstick pan. Pour the batter using a large spoon or a ladle and swirl the pan in a circular motion so the batter can spread throughout the pan evenly. Pancake has to be very thin so don’t put too much batter. Cover and cook for about a minute until it’s cooked but still flexible. Do not make it crispy. Pancakes should look like thin crepes. ** Keep the leftover pancake batter for breading.
  4. Put the pancake on a plate. Put about 3 tbs of filling and fold three side edges to the middle and roll it over to make a cylindrical shape roll. Please refer to the images here.
  5. Dip a roll in the batter, lift and let the excess batter fall back in and then place in the breadcrumbs. Use tongs for easy handling. Cover well with breadcrumbs. Put on a clean dry plate. Do this to one roll at a time. ** if you don't have any leftover batter from the pancakes, quickly mix some flour water and salt to make a thick batter. Or you can also use whisked eggs.
  6. Heat oil in a deep fryer or in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, fry rolls until they are golden brown.


Serve warm when they are crunchy with ketchup
Keywords: fish rolls, fish roll, rolls, spicy, fried, sri lankan, sri lanka, pan rolls, crispy


  1. Hi, This is really creative and wonderful, with the number of serving and all, but maybe you should do with the pastry, maybe not pancakes.. Pastry are crunchy and yummy, I think that I never tried pancakes like fish rolls that are made with pancakes. Anyways, Thank you!! <3

    1. Hi Thank you so much for the comment. Of course, you can use the pastry sheets with same filling. And make fish pastries. Hope you give this a try. You’d surprise how crunchy and yummy these are.

  2. Hi Roshani Wickramasinghe, I was looking for this recipe for ages. I like with pancake style. Just a quick question can I add butter milk instead of milk. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi Irene, thank you for the lovely feedback. Yes, you can use butter milk instead of milk. If it gets too thick use some water to thin it out.

  4. Hi Roshani,
    Yours was the best Maslu Pasn recipe I have. And that too by accident. They turned out so well. I am going to try this today and your other ones soon. Thsnk you so much

  5. Hello, Thank you for your great tips and tricks. Can make these and freeze it use for another time please? Meaning freeze the pancake rolls before frying. TIA

    1. Yes, you absolutely can. Spread them on a baking sheet and make sure they’re not touching each other and then freeze them overnight. Flash freezing helps to keep them from sticking to each other. Then you can put them all into a ziplock or a container and put them into the freezer again. And then fry them whenever you want. You can also freeze fried fish rolls too. This is what I usually do. So whenever I crave a fish roll I can take one out and fry it in my air-fryer.

  6. I ate these fish rolls when I attended a Sri Lankan party. They are delicious as is (with pancake outer layer. I got their recipe and will try to make it soon. Thanks for sharing.

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