thai fish cakes
Over the weekend B made a Thai feast of Tom Yam Soup, Pandan Leaf Chicken and these delicious little Thai Fish Cakes. These are great as party finger food, especially as you can make them ahead of time, freeze, then just reheat in the oven from frozen on 180°C (356°F) for 12-15 minutes. B made the red curry paste (recipe also below) from scratch which requires a lot of pestle and mortar action, but it’s not essential to do so – just pick up a jar from your nearest Thai/Asian deli instead. If you can’t get hold of kaffir lime leaves you can replace them with the juice and zest of 2 limes, same goes for the snake beans which can be substituted with about 40 green beans if need be.
Thai Fish Cakes
500g (1lb 2oz) white fish (any kind) fillets, minced
5 tbsp red curry paste (recipe below)
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 egg, beaten
80g (8 tbsp) tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp palm sugar
10 kaffir lime leaves (thinly sliced, stems removed)
8 long snake beans – thinly sliced
500ml (2 cups) vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl by hand (or with a large spoon) until well combined. Make small 5-cm wide patties with the mixture.
Heat the oil in a large wok on a medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the fish cakes, and fry them in batches, about 6-8 at a time. They will take 2-3 minutes to cook through, if the fish cakes start to colour too quickly tune down the heat – you want them to be golden but not dark brown.
When done, remove and drain on kitchen towels. Serve while still hot with your favourite bottled sweet chilli sauce.
Red Curry Paste
makes enough for one portion of fish cakes
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 cardamon pods
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
10 large dried red chillies, seeds removed
1 tsp galangal, skin removed and chopped
2 tsp lemongrass (white part only), chopped
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp coriander root, chopped
3 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste
10 small red (birds eye) chillies
Soak the dried chillies in water for 15 minutes. Drain and finely chop. set aside.
Dry roast the coriander seeds and cardamon pods for 2-3 minutes in a small pan on a medium heat until brown. Add to the black peppercorns and grind to a powder using a pestle and mortar.
Add the rest of the ingredients and continue pounding with the pestle for about 10 minutes, or until you achieve a smooth paste. You can also use a blender or food processor but you may need to add a little water for it to liquidise properly.