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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sort-of-Thai fishcakes

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.


  • Hi Niki - you seem to have a way of making things I'm not particularly fond of (eggplant, fish - damn, I'm such a fussy eater...) look especially tempting. These fish cakes look really good. You just put the raw fish in the processor?

    By Blogger Cathy, at 9/15/2005 09:26:00 pm  

  • Yum. I'm with you. I usually avoid fishcakes like the plague in restaurants because of the inevitable potato-bulk factor.

    I should definitely get into these at home. Thanks for giving me the foodporn photo push!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/15/2005 09:49:00 pm  

  • They have indeed been bookmarked for the future!:-) Sound so lovely! And btw. you're not the only one that gets more feedback on your sweet items, than on the savory - it happens all the time for me, too! Guess we're just one big bunch of sweet toothed people, aren't we?

    By Blogger Cerebrum, at 9/16/2005 01:12:00 am  

  • Yum-mey. ;) The coconut milk was what put it over the top for me. Sounds great and looks great too!

    By Blogger Ziz, at 9/16/2005 01:47:00 am  

  • Found your comments off of zarah maria's site...these fishcakes look awesome! Great picture!! The pic truly shows the texture of these treats. Wish I was in a kitchen right now..to try this and zarah maria's eggplant recipe!

    By Blogger Mona, at 9/16/2005 05:38:00 am  

  • Cathy - Yep, just bung the raw fish in the processor with all the other ingredients. It takes about 20 seconds to make the whole thing. So easy!

    AG - Yes, I've been wanting to make fishcakes for a while, but didn't want to fill them out with starchy stuff, so these are great.

    Zarah Maria - Increase that 3-fold for any sweet recipe involving chocolate! That's the real clincher for people!

    Alicat - the coconut milk is SO good in these.

    Mona - here's hoping you can get to a kitchen soon!

    By Blogger Niki, at 9/16/2005 10:20:00 am  

  • wow - these look and sound so tasty. i will definitely give these a try sometime soon. all you n eed to do is mention corriander and im already at the table. Thanks Niki!

    By Blogger deborah, at 9/17/2005 11:23:00 am  

  • Niki,
    till I read this I didn't know of the existence of fish cakes. But something in your recipe (actually, even before that, your mention in the post before) made me think "I want these". So I went out, bought some fish and made these for myself for lunch on friday. I remembered why I hated frying! And was not overwhelmed by the taste either. Ate a couple, put the rest in the fridge, unsure if I would be showing them to hubby at all. After a concert in the evening, hubby and I came back home around 10:30 with a great hunger and: They were soooo yummy! My husband was like: "where do you have the idea from? what is in it? these are delicious! You have to make them again!" The whole plate was gone in 10 minutes (and I had started out with 600g fish!)
    So: Thank you! I just thought it would make you happy to know that past friday evening, on the other side of the world (munich, germany) two people were talking about your blog, eating one of your recipes and very, very happy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/19/2005 05:58:00 pm  

  • Pseudo chef - I guess you could mash up the fish without the processor. It would be harder work, but I think it would still be effective.

    Saffron - I know there are 2 types of people; those who love coriander and those who loathe it. Apparently it's a biochemical thing and those who loathe it are oversensitive to an enzyme in it, which makes it taste resinous and horrible. But my family love it, and use it liberally, almost like lettuce in salads!

    Hande - That is extremely flattering! I'm so pleased that you tried them and that they were so tasty. I wonder if they developed in flavour during the time they were in the fridge? Do you think that is what happened? I noticed a similar thing myself, actually. I sent you comment to my boyfriend actually, as he lived in Munich as an exchange student and truly loves the city. I think he'd be amazed I have a reader who lives there!

    By Blogger Niki, at 9/19/2005 06:16:00 pm  

  • :-)
    Yes, they definetely developed in flavor in the fridge. interesting, isn't it?
    Tell your boyfriend that Oktoberfest just started on saturday. And of course we were already there. There are so many australians right now who are visiting. You won't be coming?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/19/2005 11:45:00 pm  

  • Heh - maybe another year? Oktoberfest is like the DREAM vacation for Aussies. Beer halls and meat - what more can you want?
    We were actually there last year on a free day on our concert tour. We were performing in Seeon (miniscule little place. A monastery, lake and a few houses) which was about an hour away.
    We have a replica Oktoberfest in Melbourne, which we're planning to visit this year. It's not quite the same thing (the Swiss, Dutch & Austrian clubs are also involved!) but there's German beer, bratwust und sauerkraut mit senf and kartoffelpuffer with apple sauce! Mmmmmmmm!

    By Blogger Niki, at 9/20/2005 12:40:00 am  

  • Delicious, I made some last night to a similar recipe.

    My mum adds snake beans to hers which add a fantastic crunch. Sadly I couldn't find any last night, so swapped with french beans, not bad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2005 07:40:00 am  

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