So I have called this post Thai style fish cakes as I very much doubt the authenticity of these but they have some Thai influence. I’ve made these quite a few times in the past and always play around a little bit with the ingredients and the techniques involved. The latest incarnation are made using sweet potato whereas in the past I would have solely made them with fish. The benefit of using the sweet potato is that you end up with more to go round and also they are a bit more substantial and so less accompaniment is required. Using sweet potato over “standard” potato also means you have a slightly healthier end result plus the sweetness goes well with the spices and adds to the overall flavour. In order to prepare the sweet potato I simply peeled and chopped it before roasting in the oven with some oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Once softened and cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool.
I tend to use fairly cheap fish when I make fish cakes as it is not really going to get a chance to shine and so you should not use anything too special. In this case I used some river cobbler which you can pick up at most supermarkets for a very reasonable price. To give them a bit of texture and bite I also included some prawns, something that I would always recommend doing. In order to prepare the fish I baked it in the oven for about 10 minutes with some oil and salt. Previously I would not pre-cook the fish and would just whizz it up in a blender which works well. As I was using sweet potato I decided to pre-cook the fish as it then need less time in the pan later when made up, I will explain later. For the Prawns I again decided to pre-cook these but first combined them with most of spices that went into the fish cakes. So to the prawns I added chopped garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander stalks. I then added a little oil, fish sauce, lemon juice (I didn’t have a lime) and some brown sugar. Thai food always has that combination of heat, sour and sweet that these ingredients provide. I quickly fried this in a pan till the prawns had just turned pink with a little ground coriander, cumin and paprika just because that is a habit of mine. Once all the fish ingredients are cooked leave to cool before constructing the fish cakes.
So now comes the time to construct your fish cakes. To start mash your sweet potato, as you probably know sweet potato tends to make quite a wet mash. This is not a good thing for fish cakes as you want them to keep their shape in the pan. You can try to firm it up a bit by adding some flour or corn flour which is what I did, if you have another way of doing this then please use it and tell me what it is. Once mashed add your prawns with spices and flaked fish and mix seasoning to taste as you go. This is another bonus of already having cooked your ingredients. You will find that the mixture is still pretty wet/sticky which is fine so do not panic. It is a good idea to place the combined mixture into the fridge at this point for about an hour until is has fully cooled so that it is easier to handle. Once cooled sufficiently form your fish cakes into roughly golf ball sized portions, maybe slightly larger. You can then squash them down into more of an ice hockey puck shape before cooking.
There are a few different ways to cook fish cakes but I favour a shallow fry, especially with these for fear of them disintegrating with any other cooking method. You can also bake them in the oven or grill them for a super healthy option although they may lose their shape a bit. To shallow fry pour in enough oil to cover your frying pan and place on a high heat, you want the oil hot. If the oil is not hot enough the fish cakes will absorb it and become greasy and probably fall apart. Once the oil is hot enough carefully place your fish cakes into the pan and allow them to fry away without moving them. This is vital as you want a firm crust to develop as this will be both tasty and also prevent total collapse. You probably want to give them around five minutes to cook on each side but play it by ear. Here again is the advantage of knowing all your ingredients are already cooked as you do not have to worry about cooking things through and so they only have to stay in the oil for as long is necessary. I will admit that in my first batch I did end up having to throw away one of the fish cakes as it started to disintegrate in the oil. I may talk about things like I know what I’m doing but I really don’t a lot of the time. I had these two days running and on the second day I rolled the uncooked fish cakes in sesame seeds before cooking which add a nice look and flavour to them.
To serve I plated the fish cakes up with some stir fry veg on day one and some rice on day two. Both times I drizzled with some sesame oil or added some toasted sesame seeds. You could also serve up with some sweet chilli dipping sauce as this would go really well. These make a really satisfying meal as you have all those lovely spices and flavours that you get with Thai style food but they also have that lovely soft comforting texture reminiscent of western style fish cakes. These make for a nice light dinner especially when served with veg and is definitely a health conscious option if you are into that sort of thing. You could probably get away with serving these as nibbles on a buffet as well if you made them smaller.
So there you have it. A pretty straight forward and easy fish cake recipe that you can make your own by adding and removing different ingredients. They take a little time to make but are by no means difficult and are pretty cheap as well.
You may have noticed that I have also have a bit of a style change on my blog (again) and would appreciate any feedback. I am still trying to get it looking how I want to but think it is getting there.
Have a good weekend all.