What a week it has been, what with the kids starting school and the seasons turning away from Summer quite definitively. The summer has been so good, and so full of sun that the arrival of Autumn is not disagreeable. Indeed it brings with it lots of positive feelings of a good harvest, crisp mornings, comfort food and baking. From a personal point of view I got a little research award which involves me having to go to Paris to pick it up (yay! no YAY -rather loudly – I am more used to NOT getting such things) and we are planning our first supperclub event for November – the date and theme will be revealed in a few weeks.
We had our family over for lunch recently. When feeding the masses and with differing ages and tastes, self service buffets suit us well. This rather easy recipe for Thai style fishcakes is something we have bought out several times for larger scale catering, as the batter makes quite a number of fishcakes. We used a mix of salmon and cod but you could substitute for any fish you choose, traditionally Thai fishcakes are made using white fish. The fish is blitzed into a spicy, herby batter. Lemongrass and lime. Coconut, Cumin and Chilli. Some of our favourite ingredients. It is a light, quite wet and sticky batter to handle but be patient as this results in an incredibly light texture, fluffy, airy and very more-ish nuggets of fish and herbs. We used this recipe as a base for our own version.
- For the fishcakes
- 300g Salmon
- 200g Cod
- 3 Tablespoons Coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Lime juice
- Half teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- Half teaspoon ground cumin
- Quarter teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 salad onions sliced thinly
- 2cm length of lemongrass chopped finely
- 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves cut into small strips
- 1.5 cm (half inch) cube of ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Half a sliced bird eye chilli
- Sunflower oil for frying
- For the pickled cucumber
- 1 large cucumber - peeled, deseeded and cut lengthways into long thick strips (about 1.5 cm wide)
- 30g caster sugar
- 50ml white vinegar
- 1 star anise pod
- Quarter teaspoon dried chilli
- Half tablespoon Fish Sauce
- pinch of salt
- To serve
- 30g Roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- Pat the fish dry, cut it into small pieces and place it in a food processor.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the coconut milk, fish sauce, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, and salad onions. Pour into the processor over the fish.
- Use a mortar and pestle, crush together the lemongrass, lime leaves, lime juice, ginger, garlic and fresh chilli with the salt. Scoop this into the fish mixture.
- Pulse the food processor until the mixture is fairly homogenised into a thick paste.
- Shape the fishcakes into small patties using a golfball sized amount of batter at a time. Place onto a greaseproof lined plate.
- Preheat oven to 180DegC
- Cool the fishcakes in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to allow them to firm up, then fry them a few at a time in hot sunflower oil until they are golden brown
- Just before serving, put them on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to heat them through.
- For the Pickled cucumber, heat the vinegar, sugar, chilli and star anise in a small saucepan and when the sugar melts add the fish sauce and a pinch of salt.
- Strain the liquid to remove the chilli and anise pod and pour this over the cucumber and allow this to infuse for 30 minutes before serving.
- To finish, serve the fishcakes with the pickled cucumber and garnish with the pickled cucumber, slices of lime and some chopped coriander.
Alongside it we made a quick cucumber pickle, and added a lime and peanut garnish. The cucumber makes for a cooling contrast to the spicy warm fishcakes, and is a slightly sweeter and spiced up version of the pickled cucumber /gherkin you might serve with a burger. You can find the recipe here.