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Thai fish cakes: the anti matzo ball

For those in search of a change of pace this Passover, look no further than these tasty morsels. Any white-fleshed fish will do--we use tilapia since it is so economical. We love them with nam prik, the traditional table sauce of Thailand. It is served with vegetables, stirred into soups, and used as a sauce for rice, noodles, meat, or fish. The sauce is best if allowed to stand for a day or two, and it keeps well for several weeks in the refrigerator.

That said, don't feel bound by tradition or notions of authenticity. These cakes are at home on top of a nice green salad dressed with a simple lime vinaigrette... we especially like tossing a mess of julienned carrots, daikon, and cucumbers with the greens. Vinegary coleslaw is another good accompaniment. For those of you who eat grains during Passover, try serving them atop some jasmine rice made with coconut milk instead of water. Don't forget to pass a bottle of sriracha, a bowl of lime wedges, and your favorite fish sauce!

Thai Fish Cakes with Nam Prik
4 servings

For the optional nam prik ​dipping sauce, combine in a small food processor or a mortar and process or pound to a paste:

     18 tiny dried shrimp, chopped
     4 small dried red chile peppers, seeded if desired and crumbled
     4 garlic cloves, chopped
     2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
     1 tablespoon fish sauce
Stir in:
     3 small red or green thai or serrano peppers, seeded if desired and finely chopped
     Chopped cilantro to taste
     (A little brown sugar)
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving.

For the fish cakes, combine in a food processor:
     1 shallot, chopped
     2 garlic cloves, chopped
     A 12-inch piece peeled fresh ginger or galangal, coarsely chopped
     2 tablespoons fish sauce
     1 teaspoon grated lime zest
     1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
     12 teaspoon salt
     1 teaspoon sugar
     1 pound white-fleshed fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
     1 large egg
Process to a paste. Add:
     2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
     2 scallions, coarsely chopped
Pulse the machine a few times to combine. Remove to a bowl. Heat to 370°F in a deep-fat fryer or deep heavy pot over medium-high heat:
     2 inches vegetable or peanut oil
Knead the fish mixture until it is smooth, then shape it into 1-inch balls. Gradually add them to the hot oil, and increase the heat to high to maintain the temperature. Cook, in batches if necessary, until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. If you choose not to make the nam prik, serve garnished with:
     Minced cilantro
     Lime wedges


Les 's picture

I love these.
Leon's picture

Any fish + Fryer = Awesome
Little Mike's picture

Grubzilla's picture

Now I have to have this. Nothing else will do until Thai Fish Cakes are had.
ThaiFan's picture

Love Love Love
Ozzie's picture

The smell of this cooking is enough to drive me crazy!
ThaiFan's picture

Tunde's picture

I like the fish.
ali's picture

nice blog

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