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  • Writer's pictureTina Brand

Feel like Thai fish cakes?

Thai fish cakes are always my favourite. And yet, they can be disappointing in a restaurant: some places add flour which makes them taste like deep friend nothing, and others are so overspiced that your mouth's on fire and you can't enjoy all the beautiful simple flavours within. I've taken Thai cooking guru David Thompson's recipe for Phetchaburi fish cakes and made it my own ( shortcuts galore), and I have to say despite straying off the path, they turned out beautifully. Try some!


  • 2 thick pieces of white fish like blue eye cod or spanish mackerel

  • Small pinch of brown or palm sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or little more to taste

  • 1 egg

  • 2 heaped tablespoons of french or snake beans, cut small

  • 6-8 kaffir lime leaves sliced fine

  • 2 teaspoons of salt

  • 2 heaped teaspoons red curry paste or adjust according to desired heat

  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Remove the skin and any bones from the uncooked fish pieces and pulverize in a food processor.

  2. Add the red curry paste, the fish sauce and pinch of sugar to the fish.

  3. Add the egg, and salt: blend till smooth.

  4. Now add the chopped beans and kaffir slices, and mix well with a spoon.

  5. Pour enough oil into a medium sized pan so the pan is half full.

  6. Heat the oil slowly, on medium until hot.

  7. Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil: if it starts to change colour immediately, the oil is ready.

  8. Now take two clean tablespoons, and scoop some fish mixture into one spoon.

  9. Place the second spoon over the top like a cap to help smooth the mixture. Press firmly together.

  10. Using one spoon, gently slide off the mixture from the other spoon into the hot oil. Repeat with two or three other scoops, not too many together.

  11. Cook the fish cakes, flipping over to cook evenly, until a deep golden brown.

  12. Drain on paper towels and serve with the chilli sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 red chillis

  • A generous pinch of salt

  • 2 coriander/cilantro roots washed clean

  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

Directions for the sauce:

  1. In a small grinder or food processor, blend the chilli, salt, coriander roots and garlic.

  2. Put this into a small saucepan with the vinegar and sugar and heat slowly till all the sugar is dissolved.

  3. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of water.

  4. Set aside in a bowl.


If you cannot find fresh kaffir lime leaves, substitute with half a bunch of finely chopped fresh cilantro/coriander.


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