Saturday 8 September 2012

Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla)

Thai fish cakes (tod man pla) with white fish, lime zest, curry paste and green beans

Whenever I go out to eat and have Thai food, fish cakes are the one thing I HAVE to have so thought that this weekend I would challenge myself and make some myself!  The fish cakes I've had in restaurants tend to be a little rubbery and although I quite like the texture, my fishcakes are still solid but a little more flaky.  Although there's still a bit of a fishy flavour, you can really taste the lime/kaffir leaves, there's a little salty kick from the fish sauce followed by a slight sweetness.

I opted for cod in my fish cakes but any light white fish will work.  I started with 2 fillets of cod which were still with skin so grabbed the thin (tail) end and ran my knife up the fish while pulling on the skin so I could get a clean fillet.  Once you have skin (and bone) free fish, it needs to be either extremely finely chopped or whizzed in a blender until it has quite a smooth consistency.  I haven't got a blender at the moment so chopped as finely as I could then squashed with a fork.

Finely chop the green beans and I mean fine - about 1mm or less.  Any thicker and you'll end up with raw and crunchy bits in your fish cake.

Slice up the kaffir lime leaves as thin as you possibly can.  If you can't find kaffir leaves, you can use the peel from a lime but only use about half as much as you would need kaffir leaves and make sure that it is sliced very very very finely because it has a much stronger flavour.

Mix the beans, fish, egg, kaffir leaves, fish sauce, red curry sauce, sugar and salt together so everything is mixed well and refrigerate for about half an hour.  It's quite a sticky mix but refrigerating it helps it firm up.

You don't want to form your patties too soon but can do so while the oil is heating in the pan.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan on a medium heat then reduce to low once it's hot.  Place the fish cakes in the pan and brown on each side.  I don't like things too oily so I always blot once it is finished frying.

My favourite sauce to have with fishcakes is sweet chilli sauce.  While visiting the farmers market in Exeter last summer I discovered a chilli jam from Gratton and Oldridge and it's so much better than anything you can buy in a supermarket.  Unfortunately I live about 4 hours away from the market so had to stock up this summer!

Ingredients (makes about 8 fishcakes)
2 fillets of mild white fish (I used about 350g) very finely chopped or blitzed quickly in a blender
3 kaffir lime leaves finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped lime peel
2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 cup finely sliced green beans
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying


  1. I don't think I have ever had fish cakes before, but they sure do sound good. This looks like a simple but tastey recipe.

    Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friends Friday. Don't forget to come back on Sunday and vote.

  2. They *were* pretty good - all gone now though! The recipe is easy and you can adjust it easily to fit your tastes!

    I'll definitely be back on Sunday to vote - see you there!

  3. Great recipe. My hubby would really enjoy these! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back and VOTE on Sunday!

  4. Hi there. Food on Friday: Lemons and Limes is now open for entries. This looks like a neat one! I do hope you link it in. This is the link . Cheers



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