Do you have a special foodie moment in your life? One which stands out from the crowd? Mine is eating freshly made Fish Cakes from a stall at the night market in Tradt, Thailand. As fast as the ladies could pat the mixture into patties, fry them and dish them out in clear plastic bags, they were sold and eaten.
Everytime I have Thai fish cakes I compare them to my famous Tradt ones. The nearest I’ve ever come to matching them is a Rick Stein recipe. It has the right balance of fish, classic Thai flavours and the all important chilli kick. Plus I like the addition of the green beans, for a bit of crunch.
I’ve used this recipe for years, and I use any cheapish white firm fish I can get, frozen is good too. It really doesn’t have to be the best cut or most expensive for these fish cakes, all I try to make sure is that it’s sustainably fished, But that’s my personal preference.
I’ve included the recipe for Red Curry Paste, but feel free to use shop bought if you don’t fancy making it yourself. If you do make it, it can be frozen very easily.
One thing I would recommend you do is to make the dipping sauce, it works superbly with the fish cakes - tangy vinegar with a kick of chilli.
I’ve used the quantities as Rick Stein uses in his recipe, but as I’ve made these for myself for years I kind of ignore the exact quantities and just go for a general feel and look. Either way they are delicious. The batch I just cooked made about 20 small fish cakes, which were well and truly scoffed!
Thai Fish Cakes
- 450g / 1 lb ling or coley fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs Red Curry paste
- 1 kaffir lime leaf or 1 strip of lime zest finely shredded
- 1 tbs chopped fresh coriander
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
- 40g / 1 1/2 oz french green beans thinly sliced into rounds
- 150 ml / 5 fl oz oil
Sweet & Sour Cucumber Dipping Sauce
- 50 ml / 2 floz white wine vinegar
- 100 g / 4 oz caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tbls water
- 2 tsp Thai fish sauce (nom pia)
- 50 g / 2 oz cucumber very finely diced
- 25 g 1 oz carrot very finely diced
- 25 g / 1 oz onion very finely chopped
- 2 red chillies, thinly sliced
Dipping Sauce -
- Gently heat the vinegar, sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved, boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, and cool
- Stir in the cucumber, carrot, onion, fish sauce and chillies
Fish Cakes ~
- Put the fish in a food processor with the fish sauce, curry paste, kaffir lime leaf, coriander, egg, sugar and a pinch of salt
- Process into a fine and smooth paste
- Divide the mixture into small balls, roll each one into a ball and then flatten into a disk .
- Heat the oil in a large pan and when hot fry the fish cakes in batches until golden brown. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper
- Serve with the dipping sauce
Fresh Red Curry Paste ~
Makes 75g / 3oz
- 5 large red chillies, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chopped fresh galangal or ginger
- 1 tbls lemon grass
- 3 tbls chopped garlic
- 3 tbls roughly chopped shallots
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbls oil
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, add some water if needed.
It’s the first time in ages that I’ve made these without using some homegrown french beans and chillies stored in the freezer, alongside some locally caught fish; but they were still delicious. Thai fishcakes in the Alps, an antidote to the food of the Savoie, which at times, is sorely needed!
Phew, back on Terra Firma with savoury dishes :) And the eagle eyed will notice there are only 12 fish cakes in the photo. Well spotted! We had to taste test the first batch :)
- Thai Green Curry for Friday (promenadeplantings.wordpress.com)