Vietnamese Fish Cakes

We’ve been bbq-​ing a lot the past few days, and doing it the easy way — grilled Ital­ian sausages with crusty cia­batta buns stuffed with toma­toes, sweet onions and avo­cado slices. It’s the sort of no-​think cook­ing break that every­one needs some­times. Last night I did a bit of Viet­namese for a change, and made some Viet­namese Fish Cakes. If you’re tired of a bbq & meat reper­toire, these fish cakes are a healthy alter­na­tive that pack a lot of fresh fla­vor. Brown these a bit in a non-​stick skil­let and serve with jas­mine rice and lots of torn Thai basil and caramelized onions. Don’t for­get a side of Nuoc Cham for dip­ping.

Vietnamese Fish Cakes

This was nice, because Greg and I finally got over our colds from hell (sucks to be sick in the sum­mer — under­state­ment of the cen­tury) and we’ve been try­ing to make up for lost time and get out to the moun­tains this week­end. Not hav­ing much luck find­ing a place to stay. All of Kananaskis is closed because the roads and bridges are still out after the flood, so every­one, locals, tourists, through-​traffic are squeezed into the national park instead. Then men­tion the word “dog” to a hotel, and you might as well say you’re arriv­ing with the crew from Guns & Roses. So we’re camp­ing in Lake Louise, but have to wait until August for an avail­able night. I’m excited for it any­way — we haven’t camped in ages…anyway, fish cakes:

Viet­namese Fish Cakes
Recipe type: Main Course
Cui­sine: Viet­namese
Serves: 4
  • 3 tbs low-​smokepoint oil, such as grapeseed
  • 400g red snap­per fillets
  • ½ cup each lightly packed chopped cilantro and scal­lions (white and green parts)
  • few leaves of mint and Thai basil, chopped
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbs white flour for dusting
  • gar­nish: ½ sweet onion, fried in a bit of oil until golden and caramelized
  1. Pat the fil­lets dry and ensure there are no remain­ing bones. Using a chef’s knife, finely chop the fil­lets. You can use a food proces­sor for this, but don’t over­process! I find that chop­ping fish gives the best consistency.
  2. In a medium bowl, com­bine the chopped fil­lets, cilantro, scal­lions, mint, basil, fish sauce, egg and bread­crumbs. Mix with your hands until evenly distributed.
  3. Wash off your hands and get a small bowl of water. Wet your palms and start to form the cakes, rewet­ting your hands after each one to keep from stick­ing. Aim for 1.5 inches in diam­e­ter and ¾ inch height. Dust each with flour on both sides.
  4. Heat the oil in a medium non-​stick skil­let and fry the cakes for 3 min­utes on each side, take care not to over­cook, or it they will be dry.
  5. Serve at once.

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