Thai Catfish Cakes

Many Thai restaurant menus include curried fish cakes as an appetizer. Although I love the flavor of the cakes, the texture is a bit over processed. I set out to create a Thai fish cake with  better texture and loads of fresh flavor. For the fish, I turned to readily available, inexpensive Mississippi farm-raised catfish. The mild lightness of the catfish makes it the perfect palette for assertive Thai flavors. The result is an appetizer that is sublimely fresh and flavorful.

  • 1 pound skinless catfish fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Bottled Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, for dipping
Place catfish, fish sauce, curry paste, lime zest, chopped coriander, egg, sugar and salt in a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse until a smooth mixture is formed. (Some chunks of fish are fine.)

Use a small cookie scoop to divide the mixture into 16 balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and set aside on a plate. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large frying pan and fry fish cakes in batches for 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Continue with remaining oil and fish cakes.

Place fish cakes on a platter surrounding a bowl of the Sweet Chili Sauce.

Makes 16 cakes.