Thai Fish Cakes: Tod Man Pla
Thai fish cakes (Tod Man Pla – ทอดมันปลา) are one of my favourite snacks. They are a common street food in Thailand and very tasty and flavourful. Since the patties are not battered, the fresh taste of the fish and spices comes through. Fish cakes are very often served as appetizer with a cucumber relish and Thai sweet chili sauce.
Traditionally, fish cakes are prepared with the Thai featherback fish but you may substitute it for another kind of firm white-fleshed fish or you can take a fish paste from your local Asian supermarket.
How To Make Thai Fish Cakes
- 900 grams fish paste / ground fish
- 1 cup of green beans /yardlong beans (tua fak yao)
- 1/2 cup of Thai basil leaves
- 10 kaffir lime leaves (makrut)
- 2 eggs
- 8 TSP fish sauce
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of red curry paste
- 1 TSP paprika powder (optional)
First chop the green beans into fine/thin slices and set them aside. Then chop the basil and kaffir lime leaves, putting them aside too. Take a large bowl and put in the curry paste, paprika powder (optional), sugar and fish sauce. Mix everything together well and then add in one egg. When the egg is well combined with the curry paste mixture, add in the fish paste. Mix this together well by using a spatula or optionally you may also take your hands to mix until it is well combined. Traditionally, fish cakes are pounded by hand. In the next step, put in the chopped green beans, kaffir lime and basil leaves. Mix this together well, then add the second egg and perhaps a bit of water if the mixture is too dry. Put a plastic wrap over the paste and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Now it’s the time for frying the cakes: first set aside a small bowl with clean water (since your hands should be wet all the time) and heat some oil for frying in a large pan or wok. Take a scoop of the paste and form a patty which you then put into the hot oil (350 degree F). Fry until the cakes are golden brown (5-6 minutes). And your cakes are done!
You may serve the cakes with some fresh cucumber relish and a sweet chili sauce. Hence, the relish is a sweet and hot chili sauce mixed with chopped pieces of cucumber and topped with crushed peanuts.
The following video will demonstrate you how to prepare Thai fish cakes!
Hope you’ll give this delicious snack and appetizer a try!
(P.S. Please check out my Thai Food Dictionary for more general information)