You have to try these delicious Thai Fish Cakes with Vegetable Ribbons! They’re spicy, easy to make and on the table in 20 minutes!Thai Fishcake Bites on a black plate with vegetable ribbons and ingredients scattered around

For fast-food that’s deliciously moreish and pretty nutritious too, these Thai fish cakes absolutely hit the spot. Each one is a mouthful of Thai classic flavours – heaps of fresh coriander (cilantro), red chillies, lemongrass and a hint of sweet brown sugar.

Start by adding the chilli, lemongrass, fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, cumin, spring onions/scallions, garlic and ginger to a food processor.fresh ginger, spring onions, chillies ans spices ina food processor

Pulse until well combined.Base mixture for thai fishcakes in a food processor

Add the salmon fillets and pulse again until well mixed.mixture for Thai fishcakes in a food processor with fresh salmon fillets

Then add the coriander and kaffir lime leaves.mixture for Thai fishcakes in a food processor with fresh coriander

Pulse again until combined.mixture for Thai fishcakes in a food processor

Shape the mixture into 10 walnut-sized balls and refrigerate for a few minutes whilst you make the chilli dip.Raw Thai fishcake balls on a white plate

To make the chilli dip, add sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and a finely chopped fresh chilli to a small bowl and mix together.Red chilli dip in a brown bowl

Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of carrot and cucumber.vegetable ribbons on a chopping board

Then heat some oil in a pan and fry the fish cakes, squashing them down a little whilst they’re cooking. They only take a few minutes to cook.Thai Fishcake Bites in a pan with ingredients scattered around

Serve the Thai salmon fish cakes with the vegetable ribbons and a drizzle of the chilli dip.Close up of Thai salmon fishcakes on a dark plate

What can I serve with Thai fish cakes?

If you want something a little more substantial than the vegetable ribbons, why not try:

More Thai food inspiration:

Can I freeze Thai fish cakes?

I believe these fish cakes taste better when cooked fresh, as the salmon is lovely and tender when eaten right away. However, you can freeze them and they’ll still taste REALLY good.

Cook the fish cakes first, then cool quickly, cover and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in the oven at 180C/350F for approx 10 minutes, until piping hot throughout.

Can I swap out the salmon for something else?

Yes, you can swap out the salmon for trout or pretty much an type of firm white fish (such as cod, pollock or haddock)

I don’t like fish – can I use meat instead?

Yes – replace the fish with minced chicken or turkey for a meaty version.

Can I make Thai fish cakes gluten free?

Fish sauce and shrimp paste are usually gluten free, but it’s best to check the brand you’re using. Everything else in the recipe is gluten free.

The Thai Salmon Fish Cake Recipe:

5 from 14 votes

Thai Salmon Fish cakes

Thai salmon fish cakes with vegetable ribbons and fresh chilli dipping sauce. A delicious summer dinner. Ready in 20 minutes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 Fishcakes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Party Food
Cuisine: Asian, Thai


Fish cakes:

  • 1 red chilli roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 lemongrass stalk outer leaves removed and inner white stalk chopped roughly (or use 2 tsp lemongrass paste)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 3 spring onions/scallions roughly chopped
  • 2 cm piece ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 salmon fillets bones and skin removed
  • 25 g (1/2 packed cup) fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves *See note
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil not as bad as it sounds - most of the oil will be left in the pan, as the fish cakes don't really absorb it

Chilli dipping sauce:

  • 5 tsp caster sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 red chilli chopped finely

Vegetable Ribbons:

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cucumber

To Serve:

  • 1 lime cut into wedges
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  • Place the chilli, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, cumin, spring onions/scallions, garlic and ginger in a food processor.  Pulse until fairly well combined. 
    1 red chilli, 2 cloves garlic, 1 lemongrass stalk, 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 3 spring onions/scallions, 2 cm piece ginger
  • Add the salmon and pulse again for a few seconds.  Finally, add in the coriander/cilantro and kaffir lime leaves and pulse until everything is mostly combined.  It’s good to leave a little texture and colour, so don’t overpulse. 
    2 salmon fillets, 25 g (1/2 packed cup) fresh coriander/cilantro, 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • Using a spoon, scoop out the fish mix and form little balls in your hand – about the size of a walnut.  Put on a plate, and place in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up a little whilst you prepare the vegetable ribbons and chilli dip.
  • For the chilli dip, mix the sugar and lime juice until the sugar dissolves.  Add in the fish sauce and the chopped chillies.  Put to one side.
    5 tsp caster sugar, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 red chilli
  • For the vegetable ribbons, use a vegetable peeler remove the outer skin of the carrots.  Then use your peeler to peel strips from both the carrot and the cucumber.  You’ll need to stop before you get to the seeds in the centre of the cucumber though, or you’ll end up with some seriously squidgy ribbons on your hands.
    2 medium carrots, 1 cucumber
  • When you’re ready to cook the fish cakes, heat the oil in a large skillet/frying pan, over a medium-high heat.  When hot, add in the fish cake balls and squash down a little with a spatula/fish slice.  Cook for about a minute to a minute-and-a-half on each side, until golden brown.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Serve the fish cakes with the vegetable ribbons, lime wedges, and drizzle with a bit of the chilli dip.
    1 lime cut into wedges


*Tip Use fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves. If the leaves are particularly hard, and you think they won't crumble in the food processor, you can soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes before using.  If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves, then substitute for the zest of one lime.  There is nothing that really tastes quite like kaffir lime leaves, so the lime won’t exactly replace the flavour, but the fish cakes will still taste great.
Nutritional Information (approximate) is per fishcake with one tenth of the dipping sauce.


Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 279mg | Potassium: 251mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2190IU | Vitamin C: 17.4mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This post was first published in July 2014. Updated June 2019 with new photos, step by step photos, tips and serving suggestions.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Aditi Banerjee says:

    I am about to make it for the first time and that too for a crowd I have invited over for dinner…hope it turns out okay.
    Assuming you work with raw salmon and not cooked?
    And wouldnt it be wise to have the weight of the salmon instead of saying 2 fillets? The store bought fillets (branded ones) vary in size from 4 oz to much more, while the fresh ones can be cut to whatever size one wants. How is a novice cook to understand what you mean by 2 fillets?

  2. Tammy Stringer says:

    5 stars
    Tasty but simple to prepare

  3. Diana says:

    5 stars
    Made these for dinner -‘so good, full of flavour and the dip is great too although I think I used too much chilli so it was hot but still great. Will be cooking these again- thanks Nicky

  4. Mark Sherman says:

    recipe calls for 2- Salmon filets, is this a standard unit of measurement?

  5. Lynne Perrington says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely a hit! So easy, amazing that there are no binding agents like egg, breadcrumbs or flour. Just lovely natural flavours. On my list of favourites 😋

  6. Karen mulvenny says:

    5 stars
    Delicious and easy to make 😀

  7. Gillian Yarrow says:

    Could I make these fish cakes the day before and leave in fridge?

  8. Kev Q says:

    5 stars
    Made this last night, Nicky. First time attempting Thai fish cakes.

    Absolutely brilliant! They were delicious. Will definitely make again.

  9. Maria says:

    5 stars
    Love these fish cakes. Make them once a week!