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My Thai Inspired Fish Cakes

June 8, 2014

Not the real deal, but my version anyway!

Not the real deal, but my version anyway!

We rarely go to Thai restaurants anymore. We have been lucky to have frequently travelled to Thailand and eaten the “real deal” from street vendors to restaurants and the local food just doesn’t compare to what is served here in Australia. I’m risking sounding like a food snob here..  Our local Thai’s chefs fully acknowledge that they have adapted their cuisine to Western tastes and use a lot more sugar and a lot less chilli than back in Thailand. Thai food is very sweet as it is and I am sensitive to the sugar given my paleo palate.

We will often ask the chef “garunaprun aha dro pet ni wan” (Kruṇā prung xāh̄ār rs̄ p̄hĕd mị̀ h̄wān – please cook spicy not sweet) or “garunaprun aha dro chta Thai” (Kruṇā prung xāh̄ār rs̄chāti thịy – please cook Thai taste)

Recently we went to a very special Asian fusion restaurant and the meal was one of the most inspirational meals I have had in a long time! Although it was more Thai inspired than Thai, it instigated the conversation about not going to Thai restaurants and missing Bangkok and then how we have never really enjoyed the otherwise popular Thai fish cakes.

I love the idea of Thai fish cakes but whenever I have tried them they seem flat and rubbery and oily and are served with a sickly sweet sauce. I obviously haven’t been going to the right restaurants!  And to be honest, I don’t recall seeing them on a menu in Bangkok, but they may be because I have been distracted with all of the other exciting things on the menu.

So my husband set me a challenge: could I make a fish cake that wasn’t rubbery, was flavoursome but still tasted of fish? Of course! And who doesn’t love a challenge!?

I do not profess that this recipe is authentic Thai, in fact, it’s far from it! I was looking for something that fit the brief according to dear husbands request. I experimented with this recipe by poaching them,  pan-frying them and both poaching them, then pan-frying them. All methods worked well.  If you wanted to make these ahead, I think that poaching them beforehand then giving them a quick sauté before serving them would work best. They are quite delicate so don’t try shaping them into flat  patties –  I prefer to make spoon shape dollops, they will firm up as they sit. This might sound complicated but it really isn’t. Try them – they are very yummy.

And yes, he did approve!

400g boneless white fish, cubed
50g coconut cream
2 egg whites
1 teas curry paste – I used green
2 teas xo sauce
4 coriander roots
1 tab coriander leaf
2 spring onions, sliced finely
pinch white pepper
drop of stevia
60g green beans, diced
4 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly julienned
Mince the coriander root on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the beans and kaffir leaves and mix on SP 6 until a smooth paste forms. Add the beans and kaffir leaves and mix on REVERSE SP 3 for a few seconds to combine.
Drop dollop shaped patties onto an oiled plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Poaching Method
Set the steamer basket into the bowl and heat 1800g water for 8 minutes VAROMA temp SP 3 until it comes to the boil.
Drop in 5 – 6 fish cakes and poach for 2 minutes. Remove and continue with the rest of the mix.
Pan-fry Method
Heat enough coconut or macadamia oil in a frying pan to cover the base with 5mm deep oil. Shallow fry the fish cakes on medium heat until brown on both sides.
Serve with dipping sauce as a starter or with this salad or with my Zucchini Pad Thai
Dipping Sauce
50g rice vinegar
60g fish sauce
40g palm sugar (more or less to taste)
Juice of 1 lime        
1 red chilli, sliced
50g water
½ teas salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, finely diced
Mix dressing ingredients (except cucumber) on  SP 3,  2 mins 90⁰C & strain & cool.
Add the cucumber and serve with the fish cakes.
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