Thai Fish Cakes with Cucumber Relish – Blue Monday

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A Oregon fisherman’s paradise serves as a perfect introduction to Thai Fish Cakes and Blue Monday.

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From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite…We have an abundance of salmon at this time of year and, out of necessity, I’ve learned to deal with the surplus that tries to claim exclusive use of my freezer space. Today’s recipe is an adaption of one for fish cakes that Bob and I had, and loved, when we were in Thailand. The fish cakes are easy to make and they’re inexpensive if you use canned salmon or tuna fish to assemble them. The recipe calls for fish sauce and red curry paste. They are available in any well stocked grocery store, but if you’re living at the North Pole or in the middle of the Gobi Desert, they can be ordered via the internet. Both will last for several months in the refrigerator. You can make your own red curry paste if you wish. I’ve included a recipe for the adventurous, but, I hasten to add, commercially prepared red curry paste works like a charm. Red curry is hot to many tongues, so I’ve used a range of measurement for it in the recipe. Go easy, if you are just beginning to eat hot and spicy food. The cucumber relish is served with many Thai dishes to offset and balance the heat of chilies. Again, the relish is simple and takes minutes to prepare. The recipe I’m including here is very basic. I posted a more involved version earlier in the year and if you’d like to try it follow this link to Ah Jhat. I use mashed potatoes to bind the fish cakes but bread crumbs can also be used. I cook the cakes in a small amount of oil. In Thailand these are deep fried and smaller sized cakes are also used as appetizers. Here are the recipes for the fish cakes, the simplified cucumber relish and red curry paste. I hope you’ll try them. You won’t be sorry.

Thai Fish Cakes with Cucumber Relish
…from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1-1/2 cups cooked flaked salmon or 1 (14.75-oz.) can pink salmon
1/2 cup plain mashed potatoes or bread crumbs
1/4 cup very finely chopped onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or mint
1 large egg
1 to 3 teaspoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil


1) If using canned salmon, drain it well. Place in a large bowl and work with fingers to remove skin and bones. Add mashed potatoes, onion and cilantro. In a separate small bowl, combine egg, red curry paste, fish sauce, salt and pepper and mix with a fork until smooth. Add to salmon mixture; mix gently with a spoon or your hands to combine. Using a 1/4 cup measure, shape mixture into 3-inch patties; place on a baking sheet and chill in freezer for about 30 minutes.
2) When ready to proceed, heat oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Carefully add 4 patties and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and continue procedure with remaining patties. Serve hot for best flavor. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Cucumber Relish

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white or rice wine vinegar
1 large English cucumber, diced
1/2 cup very finely chopped peanuts

1) Combine sugar and vinegar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2) Pour into a two cup bowl. Add cucumbers. Toss to combine. Top with peanuts. Yield: 1 cup

Red Curry Paste

3 large dried red New Mexico or Anaheim chili peppers
10 small dried red chilies (i.e. chiles de arbol or japones)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots
1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Stem and seed all chilies. Chop into large pieces; place in a small bowl. Add warm water and let them soak awhile proceeding with recipe.
2) Using bowl of a small food processor or a blender, combine shallots, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, pepper and salt. Add softened chilies and 1/4 cup of soaking liquid; process until a smooth puree forms. Transfer paste to a lidded jar and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Paste can be frozen for 3 months. Yield: 3/4 cup.

Recipes adapted Temple of Thai and Nanci McDermott

This post is being linked to:

Smiling Sally – Blue Monday

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