• Thai Fish Cakes with Chili Garlic Sauce


Bouncy Thai Fish Cakes

By Andrew Zimmern

For these delectable Thai fish cakes, I like pounding all the ingredients step-by-step in a monstrous mortar and pestle to achieve the perfect bouncy mouth feel that the Chinese call Q-Q. The results in a food processor are almost as good. And the schmaltz and ice really help the emulsification.

On another note, you can use store-bought red curry paste, but homemade stuff is SO SO SO much better and keeps forever in the fridge. So why not do it from scratch?

Thai Fish Cakes


  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste (recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (schmaltz)
  • 8 ounces firm white-fleshed fish fillets (like cod)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup green beans, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
  • 4 cups peanut oil
  • Chili garlic sauce, for serving


Place the curry paste, chicken schmaltz and fish in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. With the machine running, add the ice, fish sauce, egg, sugar and salt.

After processing for a minute, remove the fish mixture from the bowl and stir in the green beans and kaffir lime leaf slices.

In a wok, heat peanut oil to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, roll the fish mixture into golf ball-sized balls using oiled hands. Flatten into patties. When oil is about 350 degrees, fry the fish cakes 5 or 6 at a time, drying on paper towels. Serve immediately with hot chile sauce (I like the Huy Fong Foods chili garlic sauce) and cucumber salad.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill. 

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