• 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.

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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