Well! After getting such a wrap from Zarah Maria in Dining With the Bloggers, I've decided to intersperse my sweet baking-for-the-hen's-party recipes with a savoury creation I made last week and ABSOLUTELY LOVED! Maybe this is another easy savoury dish Zarah Maria can add to her list. ;-)
At rehearsal recently my friend ran in late, apologising for the fishy smell on her hands because she had just made and eaten some fantastic fish cakes for dinner. Before we started singing I managed to get some details out of her; 500g any sort of cheap white fish, some coconut milk, light soy sauce, lots of coriander, sweet chili sauce etc.etc. I thought it sounded great, especially as I really should eat more fish.
So, a few days later I gave it a go. I used some Trevally; my friend used Blue Eye. Both are cheap. I threw it into the food processor and turned it into a paste, then added about 1/4 can of coconut milk (especially that thick, creamy part from the top!) and lots of fresh coriander (cilantro), light soy sauce, some ginger, garlic and a few tablespoons of the homemade sweet chili sauce made by my great-aunt, which we've had sitting in the fridge for ages. I generally don't like sweet chili sauce on its own, on chicken or as a dipping sauce for potato wedges & sour cream (it's too sweet), but combined in these fish cakes, it was spectacular. Then add salt and pepper to taste and blend it up a bit more. I can't remember if I added anything else; perhaps some Thai fish sauce? Maybe not. The whole point of this 'recipe' is that it uses whatever South-East Asian ingredients you probably have laying around the house. At least, many Australian kitchens are now full of Thai/Vietnamese condiments and herbs! So, you can play around with taste combinations. What I really like is that most fish cakes are bulked out with mashed potato or sweet potato - both of which I'm trying to avoid at the moment - but these are not.
The mixture will be sloppy, but that's ok. Just try to shape it into rough balls and then cook. My friend shallow fried hers, but I actually used our in-built deep fryer because a: it's quicker b: it's less messy and c: it's healthier! Yes, I do mean healthier; when you have a good deep fryer, with clean oil at a constant high temperature the food you put in cooks quickly and absorbs extremely little oil - less than shallow frying for a longer amount of time. I find we don't even need to drain food that comes from our deep fryer as it carries so little excess oil. Of course, you could shallow fry in just a little bit of oil; that would still be quite healthy, really!
It's the coconut milk in these fish cakes that really make them something special. They have a sweetness from the milk and sweet chili which really works well with the salty, savoury other ingredients. They are seriously yum, and I've been snacking on them cold from the fridge all week. I'm definitely making these again as soon as I can.