~ Oh My Thai: Quick, Easy and Classic Fish Cakes ~
If the thought of snacking on fish cakes sounds a bit uninspiring, you've obviously never encountered Thai fish cakes -- they are unlike any European or Western fish cake you are ever going to taste. They're one of Thailand's signature and most popular street food snacks. They're one of my favorite Thai snacks too, and that's not just because they are bursting with Thai flavor. If you keep canned Thai red chili paste in your pantry, once you have a fresh fish fillet and some green beans in hand, you can satisfy your craving for Thai food in less than an hour!
Thai Snacks vs. the Thai Meal & some Thai Table Etiquette too:
As I mentioned above, Thai fish cakes are a popular snack food, meaning: they don't serve them at mealtime. In Thailand, a traditional home-cooked "proper meal" revolves around the rice bowl, with several satellite dishes and condiments placed around it. Without exception a proper Thai meal is always served family-style so everyone can share everything. At each place setting there is a medium-sized plate, small soup bowl, fork, spoon and glass. The plate is not over-sized to insure each dish is tried and eaten one-at-a-time with a scoop of warm rice. No knives are used because Thai food is always bite-sized. Whether the meal proper is prepared for two or twenty people, it is the event that is looked forward to all day long. In order to stave off hunger, the Thai people perfected the art of snacking often throughout the day. "Outside of the meal food" (snacks), like these fish cakes, are prepared in the home or sold on the streets!
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/2 cup thinly-sliced green beans
2 tablespoons very-thinly-sliced kaffir lime leaves
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons red curry paste
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar, or light brown sugar
corn or peanut oil for deep-frying
~ Step 5. Using a 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place firmly-packed scoops of fish mixture onto a 17 1/2" x 12" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. You will have 24-26 fish cakes.
Set aside while preheating oil in deep-fryer to 360 degrees according to manufacturer's specifications, or, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours prior to frying as directed below. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to frying.
While oil is heating: line a baking pan with 3-4 layers of paper towels and position it next to fryer. Set a large cooling rack off to the side too.
~Step 6. Pick up a fish cake and compact it into a firm disc about 1/2" thick and 2" around. Gently drop it into the hot oil, and, working as quickly as you can, form and drop two more discs into the oil. Do not overcrowed fryer basket by adding too many. Close the lid and fry fish cakes for 2-2 1/2 minutes, or until lightly golden. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the cakes to the paper towel lined pan (to absorb any excess oil), and, give them light sprinkle of sea salt. After a minute or two, transfer them to the cooling rack. Repeat this process until all fish cakes are fried.
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; fork; food processor; large rubber spatula; plastic wrap; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop; paper towels; tongs
Cook's Note: Traditionally fish cakes are served with ~ Oh My Thai: Spicy Quick-Pickled Cucumber Relish ~ which you can find in Categories 4, 13 or 20, and/or, ~ Would You Like Sweet Chili Sauce With That? ~, which you can find by clicking on the Related Article link below!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)