Thai Fish Cakes or Tod Mun Pla Serving Presentation

Thai Fish Cakes or Tod Mun Pla

See also  Crispy Pork Belly  Thai Red Curry with Prawns   Thai Red Curry in Young Coconut
Yes, yes, I know. Thai fish cakes are supposed to be round and flat. No worries, you can still use this recipe to make them as round and flat as you like. That is exactly what I have been doing with umpteen varieties of fish in an attempt to determine the most suitable type of fish to make Thai fish cakes. It got a little repetitive, so to relieve the boredom instead of making round and flat fish cakes I started to make some fishcakes that were, well, just round. These also have the advantage of being grilled rather than deep-fried which some people may prefer.

In Thailand we use a variety of fish known as featherback to make fishcakes. In the West, you only ever see this fish available as frozen. Even if you could get hold of it, once it’s been frozen it just doesn’t work for fishcakes. You can also buy it as a paste in some Asian stores, however that is something not everyone has on their doorstep and for me anyway, it still doesn’t work as well as using fresh fish.

You can actually use almost any fish for Thai fish cakes and get the taste right. That is because the red curry paste that we use in Thai fish cakes will always overwhelm the more delicate taste of the fish. What you won’t be able to get with many varieties of fish is the right texture. It is the texture that is so important in Thai fish cakes; they have to have “bounce”, a firmness that slightly resists the bite. Recipes that say you can make Thai fish cakes with cod or salmon are ignoring that fact. This never works with saltwater fish.  After numerous experiments, I have found that the fish the best suits the requirements for Thai fish cakes is Rainbow trout.  Farmed, readily available, it provides the texture we require.

Why make your own fishcakes? A big problem with supermarket Thai fish cakes is that they have invariably been produced using an industrial version of a food processor. You can never get the correct texture using a food processor regardless of the fish that you use. This is something you do by hand in a mixing bowl. You can also use a kneading attachment in a food mixer.  The taste will also be far superior to anything you can buy, hopefully that will be reason enough so let’s get started!

These are the ingredients you will need. This will make around 36 to 40 Thai fish cakes so adjust the quantities if you want to make more or less. Once cooked, they freeze well and can easily be reheated if you prefer to make a larger batch.
1 packet of Red Curry paste.
2 Eggs
800 g  Rainbow Trout fillets.
300 g  Green beans
10g of Kaffir lime leaves
20 g Cornflour
10g Sea salt
Thai Sweet Basil for decoration (optional).
Vegetable Oil for frying.

Ingredients for Thai fish cakes
Use a spoon to scrape the flesh away from the skin as shown in the picture below. Or not! It’s easier to do this starting from the tail, I was having a bad day:-)
Scraping the flesh of the fish for Thai fish cakes
Place the fish scrapings in the bowl along with the sea salt and knead to a paste. I find the best way to do this is by hand, using plastic disposable gloves if available. You could also do it with a spatula or wooden spoon or the kneading attachment of a food mixer. Just avoid the food processor! If doing this by hand it will take about five minutes until the mixture starts to thicken and get sticky.


Add the eggs, cornflour and curry paste and mix together until thoroughly blended. Leave the mixture to stand whilst chopping the kaffir lime leaves and green beans. 
Ingredients for Thai fish cakes in mixing bowl
Prepare the kaffir lime leaves by rolling several of them together and then chopping them finely into strips with a sharp knife as in the picture below.
Preparing kaffir lime leaves for Thai fish cakes
Chop the green beans finely.
Chopping green beans for Thai fish cakes
Add the kaffir lime leaves and the green beans to the fish mix.
Kaffir lime leaves and green beans with Thai fish cake mix
Stir the mixture again until firmly blended and then store for two or more hours in the fridge. This will make the mixture easier to handle.
Thai fish cake mixture
If you want to make flat fishcakes you can form them into round discs as shown below. Keep your hands moistened with a little water while doing this.
Forming Thai fish cakes.
I make them in batches of about 6 at a time and cook them in hot oil for a few minutes, turning once before draining on kitchen paper. Don’t overcrowd and cook too many at one time.
Cooking Thai fish cakes in wok.
You can also form them into round balls and place them on skewers and cook under a medium hot grill brushing with oil from time to time.
Forming Thai fish balls for grilling

Whether you’re making fish balls or fishcakes, you can make these ahead of time and then reheat in an oven at 180°C for about 6 to 8 minutes. In the picture below I have garnished the fishcakes with flash fried Thai sweet basil leaves. These are normally available in Waitrose if you want to do likewise. Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce. I find Blue Dragon brand to be quite tasty. Depending on how hot you like your sweet chilli sauce they make an “Original” and a “Hot” version.
Enjoy!
Thai fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce presentation.

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Thai Fish Cakes or Tod Mun Pla


Description

Why make your own fishcakes? A big problem with supermarket Thai fish cakes (and those in many restaurants outside Thailand) is that they have invariably been produced using an industrial version of a food processor. You can never get the correct texture using a food processor regardless of the fish that you use. This is something you do by hand in a mixing bowl. You can also use a kneading attachment in a food mixer.  The taste will also be far superior to anything you can buy, hopefully that will be reason enough so let’s get started!


Ingredients

Scale

It’s not difficult to get the taste right in Thai fish cakes, the trick is getting the texture right. For me this works best using rainbow trout which are easy to obtain and as I explained in the notes above, preferable to using salmon which many other recipes seem to use.

1 packet of My Thai Curry Red Curry paste.

2 Eggs

800 g Rainbow Trout fillets.

300 g Green beans

10g of Kaffir lime leaves

20 g Cornflour

10g Sea salt

Thai Sweet Basil for decoration (optional).

Vegetable Oil for frying.


Instructions

A picture is worth a thousand words so it would be helpful to familiarise yourself with the technique of “scraping” the flesh of the fish as shown in the images above, as this is an important part of getting the texture right.

Using the edge of a spoon scrape the flesh away from the skin of the fish.

Put the fish scrapings in the bowl along with the sea salt and knead to a paste. I prefer to do this by hand using disposable gloves but you can also do it with a spatula or wooden spoon. The key is to allow the mixture to thicken and get sticky which normally takes about five minutes.

Add the curry paste, the eggs, and the cornflour. Stir these through the mixture until they are completely blended and leave to stand whilst chopping the Kaffir LIme leaves (if using) and green beans. The technique for cutting the lime leaves finely is shown in the images above and is called a chiffonade.

Combine these with the fish mixture stirring to make sure the mixture is firmly blended and then store in the fridge for two or more hours. Whilst the fridge is not an essential step it does make the mixture easier to handle.

Form the fish cake mixture into round discs about 5 to 7 cm in diameter. This is easier to do if you keep your hands moistened with a little water.

Heat enough vegetable oil to cover fishcakes in a small pan or wok and cook in small batches for a few minutes turning once.

Notes

The fishcakes can also be formed into balls and grilled on skewers as above. Serve with sweet chili sauce and crispy fried Thai basil leaves (optional).

It’s worth making a large batch as they freeze very well!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner Lunch Starter
  • Method: Stove top, grill
  • Cuisine: Thai

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: At least 6 per serving
  • Calories: 397
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 794.1 mg
  • Fat: 25.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.8 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 31.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 140.7 mg

Keywords: Thai Fish Cakes, Fish,

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