Here’s another favourite dish of mine, a recipe that I often make at home and am invariably asked for the recipe. I can’t lay claim to the original recipe but I have adapted it over the years. My latest version has a combination of white and oily fish – equal proportions; something about just using the flesh of white fish is almost too “restaurant smart” not enough of the Thai street stall about them for my liking.
I’ve also taken to baking them – cutting the frying out completely. It’s simple all you need to do is preheat the oven to 180, lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with greaseproof paper and place the fish ball-cakes on – leaving a little space around them. Cook for approximately 15 minutes and then turn them over and continue cooking for a further 10 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown.
The recipe is in stages and I do make my own red curry paste – you don’t have to, but if you’d like to give it a try you’ll be surprised at how easy it is; leftover batches can be easily frozen for next time and wow does it taste good! So without further ado, happy cooking my friends.
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.
One thing I would recommend you do is to make the dipping sauce, it works brilliantly with the fish cakes – tangy vinegar with a kick of chilli and the sweet addition of sugar make for a perfect blend.
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. This batch made about 20 small fish cakes, if you don’t want to cook that many at once simply freeze a portion of the mix for another day.
Thai Fish Cakes
- 450g / 1 lb ling or coley fillets, skinned and cut into chunks (alternative is Cod)
- 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 Thai Fish Cake 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
- 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
- In a food processor put the fish, the fish sauce, curry paste, kaffir lime leaf, coriander, egg, sugar and a pinch of salt
- Process the ingredients into a fine and smooth paste – you may need to do this in small batches if you only have a small food processor
- When mixed add the green beans and using a fork or spatula work them into the fish mixture
- 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
Oven baked Thai Fish Cakes –
- If you would prefer to cook the fish cakes in the oven it’s simple – all you need to do is preheat the oven to 180, lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with greaseproof paper and pop the fish ball-cakes on – giving a little space around them. Cook for approximately 15 minutes and then turn them over and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes until they are golden brown.
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 a tablespoon of water if needed.