Thai Fish Cakes

This recipe was given to me by the chef of the Metropole Restaurant in Parnell, Auckland, many years ago. The original recipe was simply a list of ingredients jotted down on a Metropole customer invoice slip of paper. We experimented and developed a recipe with a quantity for each ingredient, but we encourage you to alter the amount of garlic, ginger or chili sauce, according to your taste. A Thai native would consider this recipe to be very mild. The recipe will make 8 fish cakes. After cooking, the fish cakes keep for several days in the coldest corner of your refrigerator.

When we catch a fish at sea, we first use it to make Sashimi, then to make Poisson Cru, and finally carry on with cooked fish dishes. This is one of our favorites. We devised its ingredients to avoid the mashed potatoes and green beans that are often added to fish cakes. We prefer a recipe with fish as the main ingredient.

The recipe instructs you to pre-cook the fish and seasonings, mix them with other ingredients, then form into patties to cook in a pan or Wok. Be careful to not overcook the fish at either step.

We enjoy our own recipe of crunchy diced cucumber sauce (see below) with the fish cakes, but the traditional sauce is an Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, from a bottle.

Ingredients for Fish Cakes:

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons bottled Fish Sauce (Nam Pla) or Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted Sesame seed oil
  • 1 lb (500 gm) white Fish fillets, skinned, de-boned, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small white Onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium-to-large-sized Garlic Cloves, smashed, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon medium Chili Sauce or 1/2 teaspoon fresh, chopped chilis
  • 1 teaspoon white Flour
  • Chopped fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • Sesame Oil or Canola Oil to cook the cakes

Equipment: Frying pan or Wok, large mixing bowl, electric hand mixer wand

Instructions for the Fish Cakes:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the Fish Sauce, pepper and egg. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame seed oil in a Wok or frying pan. Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger briefly over moderate heat, until the onion is transparent. Add the fish and chili sauce. Cook, stirring and chopping up the fish until the fish is not quite completely cooked. Remove pan from stove top.
  3. Sprinkle with the flour and stir in.
  4. Add the fish mixture to the egg mixture and blend with an electric hand mixer wand until well-mixed but still chunky.
  5. Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves by hand.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame seed oil in a Wok or frying pan to moderately hot. Use a 1/3 cup measure to form a round cake, place it on the griddle and press it down a bit with a spatula. Cook the fish cakes until light brown. Turn over and cook until light brown on the other side. Remove to a pre-heated plate and serve immediately with the following sauce.

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1 Cucumber, seeds removed and diced small
  • 1 Tb Garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 Tb Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tb Honey (optional)
  • 4 Tb White Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Sweet Cooking Rice Wine
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted Sesame seed oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped Green onions
  • 1/3 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet Chili Sauce

Instructions for the Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Do not pour the sauce over the fish cakes on the serving plate. Serve it in a small pitcher with a spoon so that each person can use a little or a lot of the sauce. Sauce keeps in the refrigerator for several days.





Tuna and Apple Salad

When sailing across an ocean, we don't mind eating the same thing for lunch several days in a row. This salad has become a staple. It provides a well-balanced meal, and keeps well in a sealed container in the refrigerator. We love serving it to guests who arrive at lunch time unannounced.


  • 1 can Tuna, 425 grams (15-16 oz), chunky style in spring water, drained
  • 2 medium Apples, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup sweet Pickle relish or chopped “Bread and Butter” pickles
  • 2 tablespoons Capers, drained
  • 3/4 tsp Celery seeds (optional but tasty)
  • 1/2 cup Mayonaise
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Yoghurt (We like the plain Greek style yoghurt.)
  • 1 Red bell pepper (called a capsicum in New Zealand), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 hard-boiled Eggs, cut into bite-sized pieces


  1. You can vary the amounts of each ingredient as suits your taste.
  2. Drain the Tuna and put into a large bowl.
  3. Break the tuna into bite-sized pieces with a fork or knife.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the eggs, and mix well.
  5. Add the eggs last and mix again.
  6. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.
  7. I sometimes use this salad in sandwiches.