These fishcakes (Tod Mun Pla ) are a Thai classic, but they are easy to make at home after a trip to your local Asian supermarket to pick up a few ingredients – tapioca flour is essential here as it gives the fishcakes their uniquely springy and spongy texture. These fishcakes can be made in advance and reheated later in the oven to serve to your guests. They also freeze really well so I often make a double batch and then freeze some for when I have a Thai food craving. We most often serve them as a canape before one of our Asian-inspired supper clubs but they are also fantastic in a Vietnamese noodle salad or a pescetarian alternative to pork in a Banh Mi sandwich.
Makes 40 small fishcakes
500g white fish – Basa (river cobbler), cod, ling, haddock or another white fish
75 – 100g red curry paste (depending on how much spice you like, homemade or a good Thai brand such a Mae Ploy)
1 tablespoon palm sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 egg (beaten)
80g tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
10 lime leaves (stem removed and thinly sliced)
100g green beans (sliced into thin rounds)
Sunflower oil (for frying)
Dipping sauce ingredients:
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Pinch of salt
A couple of slices of cucumber finely chopped
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of chopped roasted peanuts
Firstly make the dipping sauce. Combine the water, sugar & vinegar in a saucepan with a pinch of salt over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Put the fish, curry paste, palm sugar and egg into a food processor and blend until the fish is completely minced and combined well with the curry paste. Add the tapioca flour and baking powder and blend briefly until the flour is combined with the fish. Finally, stir in the finely sliced lime leaves and green beans.
Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or a wok until it’s hot, about 170 degrees Celsius on a deep fat fryer. Take small amounts of the mixture in your hand and flatten it out with your fingers until you have a small round about 1cm thick. Then gently drop it into the oil and fry for three minutes, turning the fishcakes over halfway through. Check the fishcakes are fully cooked by cutting one open. They’ll puff up in the oil but then shrink back to almost half the size as they cool, don’t worry that is what’s supposed to happen. Fry the fishcakes in batches, keep the others warm in a low oven until you are ready to serve.
Add the chopped cucumber, peanuts and a pinch of chilli flakes to the dipping sauce. Serve the hot fishcakes with the dipping sauce.