Thai fish cakes make an excellent low-calorie meal, and these are oven baked not fried, which I think gives them a better flaky texture and helps to keep the calories down. I visited Thailand last year and fell in love with the place, the people are very friendly, the weather is hot, and the food is incredible. Seafood is in abundance and as I don’t get a lot of it at home I tended to order seafood for most meals. A favorite was Thai prawn or crab cakes quite different to the flaky European fish cakes I was used to eating, theirs have a more solid texture. I loved the Thai dipping sauce served with them, made from fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and fresh chili. The chili really works in the hot climate.
I’ve adapted this recipe from here http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaiseafoodrecipes/r/classicfishcakes.htm it’s not exactly traditional, but delicious none the less. These Thai fish cakes tip the scales at under 300 calories per serve, including the wicked dipping sauce. The photos however don’t do the dish justice. They were crispy on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside, in my defense, I was really too hungry to worry about the styling (of which I have very little skill). I can tell you it’s worth the effort to make the sauce yourself, it not difficult at all – I swear you will love these.
Thai Fish Cakes – serves 2
350 grams white-fleshed fish fillets (I like cod, but any will work)
150 grams prawn meat
1 kaffir lime leaves, snipped into thin strips with scissors
2 Tbsp. low-fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/3 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 green onions, sliced
small handful fresh coriander
1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili
3 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of soft brown sugar
1 good shake of chili flakes
- Rinse fish and pat thoroughly dry (if using frozen, the fish will be more moist so be sure to dry it as well as you can). Cut into chunks and place in food processor.
- In a cup, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, and brown sugar. Stir with a fork to combine, then pour into the processor over the fish.
- Add remaining ingredients (kaffir lime leaf strips, green onion, ginger, garlic, fresh coriander and chili). Pulse to create a thick fish paste.
- Picking up a small amount in your hand (about the size of a golf ball) pat the paste into a small cake and set on a clean plate. Note that traditional Thai fish cakes are small (about 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 to 1 inch thick) and not too thick. Tips: If your paste is too wet to easily form into cakes, add a little flour or breadcrumbs to the mix. As you continue making the cakes, it helps to rinse your hands every so often with cool water to prevent paste from sticking.
- Put the fish cakes in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C. Place the fish cakes on a sheet tray, lined with parchment paper, and spray with oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes, turn over and give the cakes another spray, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.
- Serve fish cakes immediately the dipping sauce or Thai sweet chili sauce drizzled over. Top with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice just before eating. Excellent like this, or served with rice for a main course dish. ENJOY!