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Neil Perry’s Thai-style fish cakes with cucumber relish

Recipes

Neil Perry draws on both local and global culinary influences in his latest cookbook, which includes this recipe for Thai-style fishcakes.

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Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, published this month, features more than 110 recipes for every occasion from the celebrity chef and man behind the Rockpool Group of restaurants.

In a note accompanying his fish cakes recipe, Perry says it is easy to make with a good-quality, ready-made curry paste, but “by all means make your own curry paste as it’s worth the effort”.

“You can make the fish cakes a more substantial starter by putting some baby cos (romaine) leaves on the plates, adding the fish cakes and pouring the relish over the top as a dressing. Some ground roasted rice is a great textural addition on the top.”

Thai-style fish cakes with cucumber relish

Serves 4 as a starter or as part of a shared banquet

Ingredients

Recipe and image from Neil Perry's Good Cooking, published by Murdoch Books, $49.99

Recipe and image from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, published by Murdoch Books, $49.99

300g redfish or other inexpensive white-fleshed fish, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 free-range egg
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 snake (yard-long) beans, cut into thin rounds
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Lime wedges, to serve

Cucumber relish

60ml (¼ cup) coconut vinegar (see note below)
55g (¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
Sea salt
1 small cucumber
4 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
1cm (½ inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1 long fresh red chilli, seeded and julienned
1 small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves

Method

To make the cucumber relish, combine the coconut vinegar, sugar, sea salt and 80ml (1/3 cup) water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, check the seasoning and set aside to cool completely.

Halve the cucumber lengthways and use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds, then cut lengthways into thin slices. Stir the cucumber, shallots, ginger, chilli and coriander through the vinegar mixture and set aside.

Add the fish to a food processor with the curry paste, egg, fish sauce and sugar. Blend well, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Use your hands to scoop up the mixture and throw it back into the bowl several times until sticky; this is an important part of the process to give the fish cakes their texture. Incorporate the lime leaves and beans into the mixture. Mould the mixture into 5cm discs.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, ensuring the wok is stable, to 180C or until a small cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the fish cakes in batches, turning once, for 4–5 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel and keep warm while you cook the remaining fish cakes.

Serve the fish cakes immediately with lime wedges and the cucumber relish on the side.

Note: Coconut vinegar is made from fermented coconut water and is normally found in health food stores. It is a low-acid vinegar that is cloudy and sweet compared to other vinegars. You could substitute it with rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

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