The “little fish from the garden”

By : January 23rd, 2021 Gastronomy 0 Comments

Today we are going to talk about a delicious Portuguese snack and with a very original story: Os peixinhos da horta

In the 16th century, more specifically in 1543, a Chinese ship with three Portuguese sailors on board, António da Mota, Francisco Zeimoto and António Peixoto, was going to Macau. The meteorological situation, translated into a storm, wanted the ship to move away to the island of southern Japan, Tanegashima. The sailors  were the first Europeans to set foot on Japanese soil.

The country was facing a civil war and began to trade with the Portuguese.

In this way, a post was created in the country, where arms, tobacco, soap, wool… and recipes were sold!

In 1639, when our ancestors were banished from Japan, they left an indelible mark on the local cuisine, a recipe for green beans, wrapped in purée and then fried, “our fish from the garden” A preparation that, in the long oceanic crossings, allowed navigators to conserve vegetables for longer periods.

And the thing caught on in Japan, so much so that today it is called tempura.

The term “tempura” originates from the Latin “tempora”, which referred to a period of fasting imposed by the Church.

Catholics were not allowed to eat meat and so the dish came.

By the time “our peixinhos” entered in Japan, they already had a career made in Portuguese territory. However, the origin of this deep-roasted snack in the region of Estremadura, which is simple in confection, is not known, which is an example of creative cuisine based on few ingredients.

A preparation that would replace the fish in periods of dietary restrictions and that will have gone to mint the name precisely to the format similar to that of marine species.

Peixinho da Horta is a dish that serves both as a snack and as a meal.

Basically it is tender green beans fried in a batter, we can make it very crispy and thin or we can make fish from the garden with spoonfuls of batter as if it were a patanisca.



400g of green beans

150g of flour with yeast

2 eggs

1 dl of cold sparkling water

1 c. Of olive oil

Sea salt

Pepper q. B

Frying oil


Clean the green beans, remove the wire and cook it in water seasoned with salt for 5 minutes.

Then drain and let cool.

Prepare the batter.

Pour the flour into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the eggs, the oil and the water in a wire, stirring constantly until it is a smooth purée.

Bring to a boil a pan with plenty of oil and let it warm up.

Dip the green beans, one by one, in the batter, let it drain a little, pour in the oil and let it fry until golden brown.

Remove and let drain.


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