Roman temple of Évora and Quintus Sertorius, Alentejo, Portugal

Pataniscas and codfish cakes (pastéis de bacalhau) are among the most typical snacks in Portugal.

It is easy to find codfish cakes in bars and restaurants.

In what concerns pataniscas, although they can be found in the whole country, they are more frequently eaten in Lisbon.

Cod cakes are usually presented in the shape of a conical cylinder with two pointy endings and with three flat sides. Of course, I know that it doesn’t look like a cylinder anymore, but it’s just a way of explaining it.

Pataniscas are generally presented as biscuits, yellow, and fried with about the size of the palm of a hand.

Cod cakes or pataniscas can be eaten as a snack or meal with bean rice and salad.

I do not know of any study about the origin of one or the other snack, but my best guess is that they both started due to need.

Need to use the leftover cod to feed large families with scarce resources.

Following the above, the cod used for these snacks is not usually served as a meal because it does not look nice. We can say that it will be a second choice cod.

What are the differences between these two snacks besides the noticeable difference in shape?

In summary, I will say that the big difference lies in the fact that cod cakes are made with a potato base and the pataniscas with a wheat flour base.

In two different posts, you can learn how to cook them: codfish cakes and pataniscas.

Please note:

    • The cod used in Portugal is dry and salted.
    • Before using it, the cod is soaked in water between 24 to 48 hours, depending on each piece of cod’s thickness.
    • The codfish will be shredded before being used for cooking the mentioned snacks.

For more information about cod consumption in Portugal, I ask you to read the post Cod or codfish in Portugal .

Have a nice day,

David Monteiro

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