Years ago I gave up on Thai fish cakes wondered why anyone would waste their time eating anything with a texture akin to rubber.
The Thai fish cakes in question were served at Thai restaurants or ordered as takeaways.
What I didn’t realise was how delicious homemade Thai fish cakes could be!
The thing about Thai fish cakes is that to obtain a lovely light puffy texture they must be served as soon as possible after being cooked. They don’t cope with sitting around and nor do they survive a reheat otherwise they become instant rubber.
There are a few simple tricks to getting really good Thai fish cakes. Firstly, don’t over puree your fish mixture, instead pulse it in a food processor until it comes together but is not over mixed. Also, to get a great texture you need to aerate the mixture prior to cooking.
David Thomson in Thai Food suggests forming the mixture into a ball and then “slapping” it in and out of the bowl until the mixture becomes firmer and stickier. This will help the fish cakes to puff when cooked.
Make sure you have a dipping sauce ready to serve with the cakes prior to cooking.
While a dipping bowl of sweet chilli sauce will suffice, a fresh cucumber relish is far more exciting and provides a good contrast in flavour.
Thai Fish Cakes500 g white fish fillets
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (sachet varieties are fine)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
oil for frying
Place the fish, egg, curry paste, fish sauce and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is blended together.
Add the spring onions and lime juice and pulse again until well combined.
Turn the mixture out into a bowl and gather into a ball. Lift the mixture out of the bowl with your hand and then slap it back into the bowl. Repeat this process until the mixture is firm and sticky.
Form the mixture into cakes approximately 3-4 cm in diameter.
Heat 4-5 cm of oil in a wok or saucepan and fry the fish cakes in batches until golden on each side. Drain on paper towels and then serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauce.