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13 August 2015

Thai 'Fish' Cakes

Thai 'Fish' Cakes
A year and 1 day ago I came back from a 3 week trip to Thailand and exactly a year ago today my mum and I went vegan, so to celebrate our 1st veganniversary I thought I would make some Thai inspired 'fish' cakes, which seem extremely fitting as it was when I was in Thailand that I started seeing the truth about the dairy and egg industry and made the decision to go vegan. Jackfruit, when eaten fresh is a firm but pretty sweet fruit native to Asian countries like Thailand - I tried some whilst over there, first getting confused by it's similar looks to durian and tried that by mistake (never again!) and then when I did eventually try some, it didn't live up to the hype - it is however great when brined and used in savoury dishes! Due to it's distinct texture the fruit in brine can be used for things like pulled 'pork' sandwiches and also faux fish dishes. Though I was never a big meat eater and happily became vegetarian at 10, I do sometimes miss consuming foods with different textures and including jackfruit is a way to rectify that; if you have ever had meat substitutes you will have quickly learned that most of them have the same texture but different flavours. The texture of these fish cakes is incredibly close to real fish ones and with the flavours of chili, lemongrass, galangal and lime bringing me back to Thailand, this dish truly is a winner!
Thai 'Fish' Cakes
I cooked the jackfruit with a splash of sesame oil, spring onions, ginger and red curry paste, shredded it and mixed with potato, then coated in panko bread crumbs and lightly fried for an asian twist on a British classic. Potatoes are not traditionally used in Thai fish cakes but they are in British ones and act as the perfect binder for the jackfruit. I served the cakes up with a dipping sauce made from lime juice, sesame seeds, soy sauce, chili, and finely chopped coriander. Although using as a fish replacer, being a fruit jackfruit does not contain the same volumes of macronutrients that fish does and is significantly lower in fats, protein and energy - it is however high in certain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) such as vitamin B6 which is needed for maintaining normal brain development and functioning and Vitamin C which is essential for growth and repair of the body's tissues as well as maintaining the health of bones and teeth - so is really good for you! Jackfruit can be found at your local Asian supermarket and when buying red curry paste make sure it doesn't contain any fish!

Thai 'Fish' Cakes
I really can't believe that a whole year has passed since I became vegan but also since I got my university results and started my journey on a nutrition degree, this has been such an exciting and eventful year but I have never felt better. I put so much of that down to being vegan and eating a nutritionally balanced diet, living a cruelty free lifestyle is so empowering and it means doing the best you can possibly do (which is a lot) to reduce suffering; not eating anything that comes from animals, not buying products that have animal ingredients and doing your best to avoid companies who test their products on animals (far too many in my opinion!). This year has been a huge learning curve but I wouldn't change the decision to go vegan for anything - if you're thinking about going vegan, veggie or trying to reduce your impact on the suffering of animals and have any questions, then feel free to ask me a question in the comments below or drop me an email &  I'll try to get back to you ASAP!

Thai Style 'Fish' Cakes | Yield: 6 cakes | Serves: 2-3 | Time: 30 mins

You'll need:

  • Saucepan
  • Large frying pan
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Potato masher
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Forks (for shredding)
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Fine grater

Ingredients:

Fish Cakes:
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 can jackfruit
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 inch piece ginger/galangal
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh corriander
  • oil, for shallow frying
Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 Thai red chili, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into large cubes and boil for 15 mins, then drain and mash well.
  2. Thinly slice the spring onion, peel the ginger and grate, add to a pan on a medium heat with a splash of sesame oil. Drain and rinse the can of jackfruit, remove the seeds, roughly chop and add to the frying pan. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the curry paste, reduce the heat and fry for a further 15 mins, stirring every few minutes. Shred the jackfruit by using two forks to pull it apart, then add the mashed potato and mix together well.
  3. Form the mixture into 6 patties and coat the outside with panko breadcrumbs, add some oil to a non-stick pan on a medium heat, let the oil get really hot, then add the patties to the pan and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
  4. To make the dipping sauce, mix together the toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, lime juice, coriander, sugar and chili in a small dish. Serve up the fish cakes with the dipping sauce and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx

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