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.
Pulse until well combined.
Add the salmon fillets and pulse again until well mixed.
Then add the coriander and kaffir lime leaves.
Pulse again until combined.
Shape the mixture into 10 walnut-sized balls and refrigerate for a few minutes whilst you make the chilli dip.
To make the chilli dip, add sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and a finely chopped fresh chilli to a small bowl and mix together.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of carrot and cucumber.
What can I serve with Thai fish cakes?
If you want something a little more substantial than the vegetable ribbons, why not try:
- These matchstick fries! You could even sprinkle them with some salt, coriander and a bit of crushed garlic. Yum I’m definitely doing that.
- Special fried rice or Indonesian fried rice
- Kway Teow
- On top of this bowl of vegetable bibimbap
- Rainbow noodle salad or this nutty noodle salad
- Thai sweet potato skins
- or how about this Thai cauliflower rice salad from Ana at The Awesome Green. I'm loving the addition of mango and coconut milk in there.
More Thai food inspiration:
- Thai chicken salad with peanut dressing
- Yellow Thai fish curry
- Thai red chicken curry (homemade sauce)
- Skinny Thai green curry (homemade sauce)
- Thai fish burgers
- Thai style peanut pork
- Thai prawns with coriander (cilantro) cauliflower rice
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:
Thai Salmon Fish cakes
- 1 red chilli - roughly chopped
- 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
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3 spring onions/scallions - roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled
- 2 cm piece ginger - peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 salmon fillets - bones and skin removed
- 1/2 packed cup (25g) 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
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 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.
- Add the salmon and pulse again for a few seconds. Finally add in the coriander/cilantro and kaffir limes leaves and pulse until everything is mostly combined. It’s good to leave a little texture and colour, so don’t over pulse.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the fish mix and form in 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve the fish cakes with the vegetable ribbons and drizzle with a bit of the chilli dip.
This post was first published in July 2014. Updated June 2019 with new photos, step by step photos, tips and serving suggestions.
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