This Thai fish cake recipe comes to us from my friend Radissa. She is from Thailand and has gracefully offered to teach us how to make them. This is an authentic recipe that I hope you will try. It is absolutely exquisite.
There are certain ingredients that we will be using here that might not be common in your pantry. We will be using red curry paste, fish sauce, Thai basil, Kaffir lime leaves and sweet chili sauce.
If you cannot find Kaffir lime leaves that is okay. Don’t stress. Kaffir lines are native to South East Asia and are used in a lot of Thai and Vietnamese food. They have a distinct aroma and add a lot to your food. However, the curry paste already has some so don’t worry about it. Having said that, if you can get the leaves, use them. They will make your meal truly authentic.
As for the Thai basil, you can go ahead and substitute it for regular basil if you can’t find it. Thai basil has smaller leaves and is stronger in flavor and aroma but regular basil will do. If your basil leaves are too big please half them before adding them to the bowl.
Fish sauce is an important ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. If you take a whiff at it you will not like it. It is very pungent and strong in smell as it is made from fermented anchovies and salt. However, it adds a nice sweet/salt balance to your food. It is relatively easy to find and keeps for a very long time.
The amount of red curry paste that you use is up to you. It depends on how spicy you like your food. So go ahead and add more if you like.
You can make this recipe with peeled, deveined shrimp as well — instead of the fish. It is important that it is deveined – meaning that the black vein on the shrimp’s back has been removed. This is the shrimp’s intestine and is gritty and not very pleasant to eat.
We will be making a dipping sauce for these little fish cakes. It consists of sweet chili sauce, cucumbers and finely chopped toasted peanuts. Sweet chili sauce is made from chilies and sometimes fruit or refined sugars.
This is what you need to do for this mouthwatering and exotic Thai fish cake recipe:
2 pounds of white fleshy fish such as tilapia, basa, yellow stipe, mongrel, etc. – chopped
2 to 3 tsp. red curry paste
1 cup very finely chopped green beans
2 TBS of very thin strips of Kaffir lime leaves (if you can’t find these don’t worry)
1 cup whole Thai basil leaves – you can use regular leaves if you can’t find these
½ TBS fish sauce
1 TBS of sugar
1 egg – only if the fish is too dry*
½ cup roasted, salted peanuts
½ cup finely sliced cucumber
1 cup sweet chili sauce
Place the fish and the curry paste in a food processor and process until fish is ground. If you do not own a food processor you can squish the fish and mix in the curry paste by hand. You will need to use gloves as the curry paste is very strong and spicy.
Add the fish sauce, sugar, green beans, kaffir lime leaves and basil to the fish. Mix it all up. The fish has to be wet. If it is on the dry side add the egg and mix again. Do not add any salt as the fish sauce and the curry paste already have some.
Heat enough oil in a pan to cover the fish patties. Make sure it gets very hot before you start frying them. Otherwise your patties will boil in the oil and get very oily.
Make your patties as you add them to the oil. Roll the fish into a ball the size of a golf ball and flatten. Do not over crowd your pan. These need room to puff up. So work in batches. Fry the fish until it is browned and then flip it. Cook until the other side had browned as well. Remove the patties to a paper towel lined plate. The patties will deflate when you take them out of the pan.
Place the peanuts in a dry pan and toast them until they have some dark spots. Cool down and place in the food processor. Chop finely.
Place some cucumber in a small dipping bowl and cover with sweet chili sauce. Place some chopped peanuts on top. Serve the sauce with your fish cakes and enjoy. This sauce is also used with Thai spring rolls.
1/8th of the fish patties no dipping sauce – CALORIES 167.44; FAT 8.22 grs (sat 0.38; mono 1.16; poly 3.35); PROTEIN 19.21 grs ; FIBER 0.58 grs; CARBS 4.4 grs; CHOLESTEROL 0.00 mg; IRON 1.58 mg; SODIUM 214.64 mg; CALCIUM 46.24 mg
Dipping sauce – CALORIES 132.88; FAT 4.73 grs (sat 0.78; mono 2.34; poly 1.37); PROTEIN 2.56 grs; FIBER 0.87 grs; CARBS 13.6 grs; CHOLESTEROL 0.00 mg; IRON 1.15 mg; SODIUM 328.93 mg; CALCIUM 6.53 mg