Thai fish cakes


1 lb. (.454 kg.) white-fleshed fish fillets (such as cod, but any will work)

3 tbsp. coconut milk

2 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce

1/2 tbsp. chili powder

1/3 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 to 1 cup breadcrumbs

6 kaffir lime leaves, snipped into thin strips, or 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest

2 green onions, thinly sliced Forma1-back

1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic

1/2 to 1 red chili, minced, or 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. dried crushed chili, to taste

Oil for high-temperature frying (such as peanut oil)



Rinse fish and pat dry thoroughly. Cut into chunks and place in food processor or large chopper.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, chili powder, ground cumin and coriander and brown sugar. Stir with a fork to combine, and then pour into the processor over the fish.

Add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs plus kaffir lime leaf strips, green onion, galangal or ginger, garlic and chili. Pulse to combine. You should be able to pick this mixture up in your hand and form it into cakes. If you find it too wet, add more breadcrumbs and pulse again until you get a good consistency.

Scoop up a small amount in your hand – about the size of a golf ball – and pat into a small cake and set on a clean plate. Note that traditional Thai fish cakes are small and not too thick (about 2 inches in diameter and 3/4- to 1-inch thick). It helps to rinse your hands every so often with cool water to prevent the mixture from sticking to you.

Set plate of cakes in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, pour oil into a small frying pan or wok, at least 1 inch deep, and prepare your garnishes.

Heat oil and fry until golden brown and drain on paper towel.

Serve immediately with cucumber and Thai sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping.

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