Thai-style fish cakes

So the other night when I was making the famous brussels sprouts, Neil was cooking up a salmon dish. I don’t eat salmon so needed something quick and easy to make when I arrived home at 6pm on a Friday night with company arriving at 7pm.

Friday morning I looked in the freezer and found some tilapia needing to be used up. In keeping with the Asian theme of the night, I thought of Asian fish cakes – which I know are easy to make and look like they are not – always a good thing for entertaining!

With no time to check recipe books that day, I Googled a bit and found this recipe, very similar to my mum’s. I made a couple of changes because I did not have all the ingredients (this seems to be a bit of a theme happening at our house of late – can you say “not enough hours in the day?”). Here’s my version of:

Thai-style fish cakes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):
500g firm white fish fillets (such as tilapia), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
35g (1/4 cup) cornflour
2 generous tablespoons curry paste (red or yellow)
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs sweet chili sauce
1 egg, lightly whisked
50g green beans, finely chopped
80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
panko bread crumbs, to roll the cakes in

Sweet chili sauce, extra, to serve


1. Place the fish in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the coriander, cornflour, fish sauce, sweet chili sauce, curry paste and egg, and process until well combined.
2. Transfer the fish mixture to a large bowl. Add the beans and stir until well combined.

3. Shape the mixture into small patties and coat in the panko crumbs. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook patties for approximately 4-6 minutes each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

5. Serve and enjoy!

We used a little lime-ginger hot sauce to dip/ pour over the cakes and it worked fantastically:

And check out how pretty they are on the inside:

The different textures make this a taste sensation in your mouth – the crunchy panko, the soft fish and the crispy beans all work so well together. For my American friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, you might be in need of a lighter dish by the weekend – I highly recommended this! For my non-US readers, well just make them. You won’t be sorry.

21 Responses to Thai-style fish cakes

  1. From Becca November 24, 2009 at 09:59 #

    Cooeee, fishcakes are delicious! And easy as long as you don't overwork the mix (then they can tend to tough). Sydney Seafood School and they have evolved the recipe to take out the egg. Here's my post with egg http://insidecuisine.com/2009/10/thai-style-fish-cakes-redfish/

  2. Diana Bauman November 24, 2009 at 12:46 #

    These sound so good Mardi! I have those panko breadcrumbs from the festival which I can put to use now 🙂

  3. Simply Life November 24, 2009 at 13:13 #

    Oh wow, these look delicious! I'm pretty sure there's nothing you can't make! 🙂

  4. jen laceda November 24, 2009 at 13:33 #

    I love fish cakes – the real thing, not the processed one sold in Asian supermarkets. Mardi, you're killing me…I'm pregnant and so very hungry at 8:30 in the morning!!

  5. Tasty Trix November 24, 2009 at 14:29 #

    That sounds like my kinda dish!

  6. Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 24, 2009 at 15:02 #

    This sounds a lot like my fish cake recipe, which reminds me I haven't made them for ages! I think summer will involve a few fishcake + salad nights. The problem with making delicious fishcakes yourself is that you can't order them out anymore as so often they are bland, overprocessed mushy monstrosities compared to lovely fresh homemade ones. These look delicious (anti-monstrosities).

  7. Tasty Eats At Home November 24, 2009 at 15:49 #

    These look scrumptious!

  8. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite November 24, 2009 at 16:42 #

    From Becca – what does taking out the egg do?

    Diana – yay panko breadcrumbs!

    Simply Life – you are TOO kind.

    Jen – sorry!

    Tasty Trix – yup!

    Conor – glad you think they don't look like monstrosities!

    Tasty Eats – they were.

  9. Cajun Chef Ryan November 24, 2009 at 17:34 #

    Wonderful fish cakes here!

  10. lululu November 24, 2009 at 17:37 #

    I'm not a fish person, but I always fall for any fry fish dish!
    This one is definitely one of them. BTW, I love the chili paste addition too! A little spicy kick!

  11. Chow and Chatter November 24, 2009 at 18:39 #

    wow love fish cakes

  12. linda@saltyseattle November 24, 2009 at 22:13 #

    this recipe is a great antidote to the glut of us thanksgiving recipes that are flooding the web right now- thanks!

  13. high low November 25, 2009 at 00:03 #

    What a great idea! We're always buying frozen tilapia from Trader Joe's for quick dinners and needed additional inspiration beyond quickly baking, poaching, or frying with panko flakes!

  14. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite November 25, 2009 at 02:10 #

    Cajun Chef Ryan – thanks!

    lululu – I am not a fish person either but this tastes pretty good…

    Chow and Chatter – thanks!

    Linda – you are welcome.

    high low – you would love these…

  15. Mary-Laure November 25, 2009 at 04:55 #

    Sounds and looks delicious. I love the ginger sauce touch, yum.

  16. penny aka jeroxie November 25, 2009 at 11:28 #

    home made fish cakes are the best! and they all look so golden brown. YummO!

  17. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite November 26, 2009 at 01:56 #

    Mary-Laure – it made a nice change to sweet chili sauce

    Penny – I think you might even like these… though I would be nervous serving anything Asian to you…

  18. Fresh Local and Best November 27, 2009 at 23:02 #

    This looks like a superb recipe, especially for those many days that I crave something crisp and fried!

  19. Ravenous Couple December 22, 2009 at 22:17 #

    we make vietnamese style fish cakes, but mostly with paste…love how these are more coarse in texture

  20. Sibley February 13, 2011 at 17:24 #

    I made these for a Chinese New Year party – doubled the recipe and made small patties. They were the hit of the party. Great recipe – thanks.

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