Saturday, August 03, 2013

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes)

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 1

The green beans the niece grew from seed in preschool yielded a handful if I saved the harvesting for about once a week. Not really enough for a stir-fry, but just enough green beans to supplement something. Just enough for a batch of Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes).

Remembering that Shaved Ice Sundays' in-laws are Thai, I consulted her recipe since I remembered liking her use of red curry paste in the recipe. The chopped green beans I've encountered in versions of Thai fish cakes I've eaten before, adding both color and texture. Unlike her recipe though, I minced my own fish instead of purchasing store-bought fish paste. If you buy fish paste instead of making your own, then you can probably omit most of the seasonings in my recipe since store versions already have plenty. Finally, the baking powder in the recipe helps lighten up the texture of the fish. The fish cakes will puff up a little when frying, and then shrink down in size when cooled so don't be alarmed when that happens.

These can be eaten as an appetizer or a side dish, served with a light fish dipping sauce.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 2

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes)
 Adapted from Shaved Ice Sundays' Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla) with Cucumber Sauce.

For about a dozen fish cakes, you'll need:

2 white fish filets (about 1 lb), minced
2/3 cup green beans, thinly sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonaded
1 egg, beaten
1 or 2 tblsps Thai Red Curry Paste
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 squirts Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
Oil for deep-frying

I buy frozen basa filets and just defrost as needed, but tilapia or any white fish will do.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 3

You can mince the fish in a food processor, but I find mincing fish by hand to be fairly pretty quick and easy. Just chop up the fish with a knife, gather up the fish in the opposite direction, and mince again. About three or four times should do the trick.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 4

Thinly slice about 10 green beans, about 2/3 cup. Chiffonade four kaffir lime leaves.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 5

In a bowl, add the minced fish, green beans, kaffir lime leaves and 1 egg, 1 or 2 tblsps red curry paste depending on your preference, 1 tsp corn starch, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 2 squirts fish sauce. The red curry paste has plenty of salt already so I didn't add more.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 6

Mix all the ingredients together. As you can tell, I used 2 tblsps of red curry paste for this lovely color.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 7

Oil your hands and form 2-inch patties. You can set the patties aside on a plate, or form them when you're ready to add them to the fryer.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 8

Fry on medium heat for about five minutes or until the patties turn golden.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 9

Flip and fry for a few minutes more. Let the patties drain the excess oil before serving.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 10

Serve with rice and Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce) or in my case, Laotian Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) 11


Other fish recipes you might like:
Amok Trey (Cambodian Steamed Fish Curry)
Ca Bong Lau Nuong voi Mo Hanh (Vietnamese Roasted Catfish with Scallion Oil)
Ca Chien Sot Ca Chua (Vietnamese Fried Fish with Tomato Sauce)
Ca Hap Gung Hanh (Vietnamese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions)
Ca Kho To (Vietnamese Braised Catfish in a Claypot)
Cha Ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Turmeric Fish with Dill)
Misoyaki Salmon
Salmon with Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Seared Salmon with White Wine, Miso, and Soy Sauce Glaze
Seared Tuna with Hoisin Soy Sauce Glaze

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today, Jaleo by Jose Andres ($45 Prix Fixe Menu) - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Las Vegas.
3 years ago today,
4 years ago today, Chinatown - San Francisco.
5 years ago today, Suon Kho Xa Gung Toi Ot (Vietnamese Braised Pork Chops with Lemongrass, Ginger, Garlic, and Chilies).
6 years ago today, an individual batch of Cherry Cinnamon Jam.


  1. Wow - those look great!

    And funnily enough, they make me think of gefilte fish (a jewish poached dumpling.) Your version can easily be tweaked for Passover!

  2. Oddlyme,
    I think the Vietnamese fish paste will really make you think of gefilte fish since it's often left plain, then formed into patties and fried. Oh! How would you make it for Passover?

  3. I'm really fond of thai fish cakes and have encountered so many different versions. This version looks really authentic!

  4. Wok and Spoon,
    Thanks! I liked using red curry paste for flavor. It was also easiest that way!


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