Thai fish cake recipe
March 4, 2006 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Fantastic Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man)! Have a great recipe? Share it and spread the love.

One of my favorite entrees (appetizer for you US folk) has always been Thai Fish Cakes. Of course there are a jazillion different recipes out there on the internets, but what I want is a proven gem. If you have a personal favorite, please help me help you help me and let me have it. Also any tricks you may know to make them turn out perfect (not too chewy, not too mushy).

Bonus points for a good dipping sauce recipe.

And to be democratic about it, you can feel free to share any other great Thai recipes.

As anyone can note, there are a bunch of recipes that are easily found online, but what I am looking for is your recipe that has stood the test of time and taste buds. I want a true winner here that will impress friends and make my woman love me more. So, please, no google links unless it is a tried and tested recipe that you can vouch for.
posted by qwip to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have a recipe, but these fish cakes are my favorite Thai food, especially as made by Thai Nakorn Restaurant in Garden Grove, CA
posted by growabrain at 3:39 PM on March 4, 2006

First, make the dipping sauce.
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 small fiery chili, sliced in rings (optional)

Combine all ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar. Make at least an hour before serving, to let flavors combine. Often served thickened with a bit of cornstarch and topped with ground roasted peanut, which I don't prefer.

When I'm in a hurry, I just use Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce from the bottle, thinned with a bit of basalmic vinegar.

Tod Mon*

1 lb rough whitefish, such as whiting (tilapia works too)
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled
1/8 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red curry paste
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced thinly

Bung everything in the food processor. Pulse until just combined if you like it a bit chunky, lean on the button if you want it a fine paste. Me, I like a bit more texture.

Scoop it out, flatten into patties, drop into hot oil for a minute or two, turn, remove and drain. Put finished ones on a plate in a warm oven so they don't get cold.

To serve, sprinkle warm patties with shredded cilantro leaves and serve warm with dipping sauce.

* No warranty given or implied that these are "authentic." This is my recipe, assembled after getting frustrated that I could not live in a Thai restautant.
posted by sacre_bleu at 4:24 PM on March 4, 2006

Hmmm, Kaffir lime leaves is a new one. I usually see green bean or green onion. Interesting!

And the dipping sauce sounds more typical of what I've had with fresh spring rolls rather than fish cakes. I'll have to try it.

This is good. Keep 'em coming, people...
posted by qwip at 9:43 PM on March 4, 2006

Some years ago I went to the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School in Thailand. Among other things we were taught to make fish cakes. They were amazing although I must admit I haven't made them since. Here is the recipe:

500 mls (2 cups, 16 fl oz) oil

Fish cakes
250 g (9 oz) fish fillets -- minced
80 g (3 tablespoons) red curry paste
30 mls (2 tablespoons) fish sauce
2 eggs -- beaten
40 g (4 tablespoons) tapioca flour
5 kaffir lime leaves -- thinly sliced discarding the stem
4 long beans -- thinly sliced

90 mls (6 tablespoons) water
80 g (6 tablespoons) sugar
15 mls (1 tablespoon) vinegar
5 g (1 teaspoon) chili powder
20 g (2 tablespoons) peanuts -- chopped
coriander -- chopped

Mix all the ingredients for the fish cakes together in a bowl until they are thoroughly combined.

To make the sauce, put the water, sugar and vinegar into a pan and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved bring the water to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chilli powder and peanuts. Leave to cool and serve garnished with coriander.

Make the fish cake mixture into small, flat cakes about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. Put the oil into a wok and when it is hot add the fish cakes. Fry them until they are golden brown (about 3 or 4 minutes). When they are cooked take them out and put them on kitchen paper to drain. It is best to fry the above quantity in about 3 batches.

Serve the fish cakes while they are still hot with dipping sauce.

You can use any white fish fillets.

These can also be made using chicken, pork, prawn, crab or vegetables instead of fish.

If you are using bought red curry paste you will only need 35 g (1 ½ tablespoons).

Makes 20 fish cakes.
posted by sveskemus at 9:31 AM on March 5, 2006

The following ingredients are from David Thompson's incomparable Thai Food, (link) or as I call it in my kitchen, the big pink bible. (Mine's pink; newer versions are not.)

Anyhoo: I lived in Thailand, I love cooking Thai food, and I have yet to find any cookbooks that come close to Chef Thompson's recipes for taste and authenticity. These are the real deal, IMHO. He does both 'street' cooking and the more royal fair like you usually find in western Thai restaurants. If you are at all into cooking Thai food, you must get a copy of this book.

The down side is that he makes no allowances for cooks in non-Thai environments; i.e. there are no ingredient substitutions. And many recipes take awhile. For example, he demands you make your own curry pastes. Which takes a shitload of time and muscle, but is so very worth it.

Anyway, on to his Tort man pla recipe, which I've not tried but looks superb:

First make the red curry paste:

10 dried long red chilis, deseeded, soaked in warm water for 20mins and drained;
Large pinch of salt;
1.5 tblspoons chopped galangal;
3 tblspoons chopped lemongrass;
2 teaspoons finely chopped kaffir lime zest;
1 tblspoon scraped and chopped coriander root;
1 tblspoon chopped red shallot;
2 tblspoons chopped garlic

Combine the ingredients one by one in a heavy mortar and pound until homogeneous. The finer you can get it, the better. Note: You can cheat and use a food processor but be aware it should be pounded at some point as the ingredients must be bruised and crushed, not chopped, to bring out the flavour. This takes a very long time but it is worth it; you'll never want to go back to the tinned crap again.

300g (9oz) fish filets, such as whiting or orange roughy;
4 tblspoons red curry paste (above);
1 egg, lightly beaten;
3 tblspoons fish sauce;
1 teaspoon superfine (castor) sugar;
5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded;
2 tblspoons finely cut snake beans or green beans;
oil for deep frying.

Wash fish in cold, salted water. Combine fish, curry paste and egg in food processor, blend well and season with fish sauce and sugar. In a large bowl, gather the fish puree up into a ball and throw back into the bowl; continue this slapping until the mixture becomes firmer and stickier (this aerates the ingredients and makes the cakes puff up when deep fried.) Mix in lime leaves and beans. Mould into small discs, then deep-fry in a wok with plenty of oil over a medium heat. Serve immediately -- the cakes toughen as they cool. Serve with cucumber relish (below).


3 tblspoons cocnut vinegar or white vinegar;
3 tblspoons white sugar;
4 tblspoons water;
pinch of salt;
1 small cucumber, washed, quartered lengthwise and sliced (about 0.5 cup);
4 red shallots, finely sliced;
2 tblspoons julienned ginger;
1 long red chilim, julienned or cut into thin rounds;
1 tblspoon coriander leaves

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat when sugar has dissolved. Cool. The syrup should taste sour and sweet. Mix remaining ingredients in a serving bowl and pour the syrup over them; flavour will mellow with time.

Enjoy! (And I hope 'your woman' loves it, too!)

(If you need any clarifications or suggestions, do email me or leave a Q in the thread.)
posted by docgonzo at 9:37 AM on March 5, 2006

Oh, I might as well share my recipe for red curry paste.

5 g (1 teaspoon) ginza -- skin removed, chopped
10 g (2 teaspoons lemongrass -- lower 1/3 only, chopped
5 g (1 teaspoon) kaffir lime peel -- chopped
5 g (1 teaspoon) coriander -- chopped
5 g (1 teaspoon) salt
5 g (1 teaspoon) pepper
15 g (3 tablespoons) shallots -- chopped
15 g (3 tablespoons) garlic -- chrushed
10 g (1 teaspoon) shrimp paste
1 tablespoon coriander seeds -- rosted until brown
2 cardamom pods -- roasted until brown
10 big, red, dried chillied -- seeds removed and soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
10 small, red chillies

Put all the ingredients toghether and pound using a pestle and mortar or liquidize for about 10 minutes until the paste is smooth.

This makes 100 g (4 tablespoons) of red curry paste. If you use bought red curry paste you will only need 50 g (2 tablespoons).

The coriander seeds and cardamom pods should be roasted seperately in a wok over low heat until they are brown. Shake the wok occasionally.
posted by sveskemus at 9:38 AM on March 5, 2006

These are all great suggestions. I thank you all from the bottom of my stomach.

I will report back after getting an opportunity to make said recipes...
posted by qwip at 12:29 PM on March 5, 2006

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