Fish Cakes can be so dull and boring. But THAI Fish Cakes are FABULOUS! A classic Thai street food and my favourite starter at Thai restaurants along with Chicken Satay.
Surprisingly easy to make at home – all you need is fish, red curry paste, egg, rice flour and fish sauce. Blitz, make patties and pan fry!
Thai fish cakes
If I order an appetiser at a Thai restaurant, 9 times out of 10 it will either be Thai Fish Cakes or Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce.
And both of these are irritatingly pricey at Thai restaurants for what you get! $7 for 3 piddly little fish cakes or 3 teeny tiny skewers with a midget tub of peanut sauce.
Homemade is 80% cheaper – and just as good as takeout!
Thai Fish Cakes are (in my humble opinion) the most fabulous fish cakes in the world!
What Thai Fish Cakes taste like
The main flavouring in Thai Fish Cakes is red curry paste, so if you love Thai Red Curry, fish and food made to be eaten with hands, then this has got your name written all over it!
The unique thing about these fish cakes is the texture. It’s like Asian fish balls, kind of spongey. I know that sounds thoroughly unappetising, to say they are “spongey”, but there’s no other word I can think of! 😂
What you need
The BEST Thai Red Curry Paste – Maesri
For recipes like this where you only need a few tablespoons of curry paste, I typically use store bought rather than homemade Red Curry Paste.
The best store bought Thai Red Curry Paste by a long shot is a brand called Maesri. This is also the brand I use for Thai Green Curry. Other brands tend to have less authentic flavour and are (usually) too sweet.
Sold in small cans for around $1.30 (it’s the cheapest!), it’s available in some Aussie large grocery stores (Coles, Woolies, Harris), Asian grocery stores and here is the cheapest one on Amazon US.
**Don’t worry if you can’t find Maesri. This recipe is still great even with mainstream curry pastes.**
How to make Thai Fish Cakes
- Place fish, red curry paste (homemade or store bought), cilantro/coriander, egg, lime juice and fish sauce in a food processor, whizz to mince;
- Mix in rice or cornflour (cornstarch) and green beans; and
- Form patties and cook.
Simple, right? Do you really need me to write out the whole recipe for you??? (Don’t worry, I did! I always do!)
A note on authenticity!
Thai Fish Cakes are a classic Thai street food that you’ll find all over Thailand, from Bangkok to the popular tourist islands like Pukhet and Koh Samui (I really need to go back soon, I miss Thailand!!).
Here are the 2 things I do differently to the real authentic Fish Cakes made in Thailand:
- Inclusion of rice flour – Truly authentic recipes are made with fish paste which is starchy fish (yes there is such thing!) that has been fermented and is a pretty smooth paste. This is then beaten for ages (i.e. 30 minutes by hand!) to activate the starch and this is the secret to beautifully bouncy, spongey fish cakes. However, in Western countries, the same texture is achieved by starting with fish fillets, minced them and mixing in either rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch); and
- I don’t deep fry! In both Thailand and restaurants, Thai Fish Cakes are deep fried. I really believe that very little compromise is made by pan frying instead of deep frying!
How to serve Thai Fish Cakes
A simple store bought bottle of Sweet Chilli Sauce serves well as a convenient version of the dipping sauces you get at Thai restaurants.
In terms of what to serve it with, Thai Fish Cakes are typically served as a starter at Thai restaurants.
To make a meal out of it, try these on the side:
- Steamed Jasmine rice, Thai Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice or Coconut Rice
- Crunchy Asian Slaw on the side – great all rounder Asian salad that goes with all Asian foods
- Asian Sesame Dressing for any fresh salad or steamed vegetables
If you try these Fish Cakes, and I really hope you do, all it will take is one bite to be overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity. These really do taste just like what you get at Thai restaurants! – Nagi x
More Thai takeout favourites
- Pad Thai – truly just like takeout!
- Thai Red Curry
- Massaman Curry
- Thai Fish Cakes
- Thai Fried Rice
- Pad See Ew – Thai stir fried noodles
- Browse the Thai recipe collection
Watch how to make it
Thai Fish Cakes
- 1 lb / 500g white fish fillets , skinless and pin boned, cut into chunks (Note 1)
- 3 tbsp red curry paste (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves , chopped
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (sub soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (40g) rice flour (or cornstarch / corn flour)
- 6 green beans , finely sliced (optional, Note 3)
- 4 - 6 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sun flower)
- Sweet chilli sauce
- Cilantro/coriander leaves
- Lime wedges
- Place fish, red curry paste, cilantro/coriander, fish sauce, lime and egg in a food processor. Whizz until the fish is minced and it looks like a paste. (See video)
- Transfer to a bowl and stir through rice flour and green beans until flour is all incorporated. (Note 4)
- Measure 1/4 cup of mixture (I use an ice cream scoop - Note 5), form 1cm / 2/5" thick patties.
- Heat enough oil in skillet over medium high heat to cover the base (4 tbsp or so)
- Place in oil, cook 2 minutes until deep golden brown, then turn and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate.
- Repeat with remaining mixture, adding more oil into the skillet if required.
- super lean fish (swordfish, tuna)
- delicate fish (flounder, Dover sole)
- small whole fish like sardines or mackerel
Originally published April 2016. Minor recipe updates to make cooking process easier, brand new video, photos, process shots and Life of Dozer update!
LIFE OF DOZER
Weekend Nana Naps often end with Dozer using ME as his pillow. It’s the wrong way round – I should be laying MY head on his fluffy, soft mass!! 😂
Flashback to when this recipe was originally published:
Snippet from Life As Dozer. He basically has 4 modes: playing, sleeping, eating food or hoping for food. He lives a hard, hard life, doesn’t he?