Tod Man Pla (Thai Fish Cakes)
Some names, for me, just seem "unfortunate". That these are called "fish cakes" is, unfortunate. Something about the name doesn't really elicit visions of fresh fish blended with a spicy curry paste, vegetables and a bit of egg, then pan fried. Instead, it elicits visions more in the spirit of something Bugs Bunny might give to Elmer Fudd. The idea of a "fish cake" feels a bit cartoonish and filled with ulterior motives. These fish cakes are Thai, which somehow renders the whole thing exotic ... and cartoonish.
Because I detest the name "Fish Cake", I'm going to call these "Tod Man Pla", or "ทอดมันปลาทอดมัน", which is what they're really called by the street vendors that hawk these tasty cakes on the streets of Thailand.
These seem to come in a wide variety of tastes and flavors, but there do seem to be some consistent elements between them all. They're all fish, they're all fried and they're all kind of springy.
I decided to add a few vegetables into mine, which gives them a heartier texture, a little more depth of flavor and specks of delightful color!
Note: This is delicious served with some thin slices of cucumber and chilies, tossed with some fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and a bit of sweetener.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 6 Servings
- 1 1/2 lb firm fresh, raw, white fish (cod, halibut, sole, shrimp, scallop, lobster, etc.)
- 3 each egg whites
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
- 4 each garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp red curry paste
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 10 each fresh kaffir lime leaves cut into very thin strips (lime zest is an acceptable substitute)
- 1/2 lb green string beans ends and string removed, cut into thin little discs
- 1 small red bell pepper seeded and cut into small dice
- 2 tbsp light oil (for sautéing ... such as coconut olive or ghee)
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a food processor, place your fresh fish, egg whites, ginger, garlic, curry paste and fish sauce. Puree the mixture into it is a smooth frothy paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Fold in your lime leaf strips, green bean discs and red bell pepper dice. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Heat a skillet or large sauté pan over medium heat and add your oil. These are often deep fried, but I opted to cook them like pancakes (less mess, less need to use a lot of fat/oil, for the purposes of frying). You can do it in any manner you see fit.
Add your oil to the pan. When the oil ripples, place little plops of paste into the oil (I tend to use a small ice cream scooper for this). Press down a bit, to flatten them out. They'll cook more quickly and evenly.
When one side is nice and golden brown, flip them to cook the other side.
When they are cooked through, serve!
Serving: 6g | Calories: 189.655kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.765g | Protein: 26.146666666667g | Fat: 5.725g | Fiber: 1.5533333333333g