Thai Fish Cakes
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
As a kid growing up in Sydney with a Thai mum and Aussie dad, I got sent to school with some pretty interesting lunches. Fish Cake sandwich was one of the worst! I was mortified and the stench of fish and garlic when I opened my lunchbox hit like a freight train. How I wished for a Vegemite sandwich like all the other kids, of course now I can't get enough of them and my kids are big fans of the old Fish Cake.
So I managed to survive the horror of the infamous Fish Cake sandwich incident and luckily I didn't suffer too much flak from the other kids. It was the early 2000's in the Inner West of Sydney so ethnic food (particularly Thai) was widely available and accepted. However, I do remember taking charge of my own lunchbox from then on. I have to say, it is amazing how the diverse the eating habits of children are these days: at every kids party I go to, the sushi platter is always the first thing to be eaten!
“If you have the time and the inclination, Fish Cakes are best made with a homemade red curry paste. This way you can taste the freshness of the ingredients and control the heat level, particularly if making as a family meal. But I get it, we're all busy and sometimes don't feel like making curry paste from scratch so buy that jar of curry paste, girl, and keep in the pantry for when you can't be f-ed”
Thai Fish Cakes an original recipe by Kimberley Kells
Preparation time: 30 minutes (curry paste from scratch), 15 minutes (store bought curry paste)
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 3 adults or 2 adults 2 kids with rice
2 Tablespoons Red Curry Paste (follow link for recipe)
500g Snapper fillets
100g Snake beans or green beans will do, sliced
2 egg whites
5 Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons Fish sauce
2 tablespoons Palm sugar
Step 1- In a food processor combine the curry paste, snapper and egg whites. Blitz until it forms a sticky paste.
Step 2- Place into a large mixing bowl and pick up the mixture in your hand and slap it down into the bowl. Do this for a couple of minutes until the mixture changes texture to feel more 'bouncy'. This process is what gives the fish cakes their signature texture when cooked.
Step 3- Still using your hands, mix in the snake beans, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and palm sugar. My mum taught me I should always taste for the seasoning and balance that is so important in Thai cooking, even if it is raw meat or fish. Since you have been using your hands, simply lick your finger and this should give you a good idea of whether the salty/sweet flavours are balanced. Obviously I'm not advising you all to eat raw chicken and contract salmonella but this is the part of cooking where you have to use all your senses and your instinct to get the flavours right.
Step 4- Heat a large frying pan with about 1cm of oil for frying. Shape into little cakes and fry until golden and cooked through. Serve with rice and sweet chili sauce. If you feel like trolling your children, throw some between 2 slices of white bread and send them off to school. I promise they'll never forget it!