Steamed Curry Fish Cakes in Cucumber Water

Steamed fish cake in cucumber water

This is another one of those weird ideas that came to me in a day dream about food. When I get these ideas I send them to myself by email so I don’t forget them, then when I have a bit of time (or the right ingredients) I can give it a go. It’s been so long since I thought of this I can’t really remember where I was or what I was thinking, but this is a reinterpretation of the Thai fishcake dish Tod Mun Pla.

Tod Mun is traditionally a fried golden brown fishcake that’s loaded with spicy red curry and fragrant kaffir lime leaves. Inside they are soft and juicy with with crunchy bits of Chinese long bean and they’re usually served with a sweet and tart sauce that has chopped cucumbers and red onions in it.

While I love the original, I wanted to experiment with something lighter and more fluffy, floating in a sea of cool cucumber water and topped with a tart crispy red onion salad. To achieve this, I added baking powder to the fish cake to give it some fluff and steamed it instead of pan frying for a lighter taste. The cucumber water is essentially strained cucumber juice that would make a wonderfully refreshing cold soup on it’s own and the thai chili sauce and onion salad make for sweet and tart accents that round out the dish nicely.

I reserved the pulp from making the cucumber water and mixed it with some plain yogurt to make a nice cooling dip for Lamb and Veggie Kebabs.

for cucumber water
2 regular cucumbers peeled and roughly cubed(no need to seed them)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 C water
juice of 1/2 a lime (about 2 Tbs)

for red onion salad
1/4 C red onion diced
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar

for fishcake
3/4 lbs boneless skinless white meat fish (I used cod)
1 egg
1 Tbs red curry paste
1 Tbs mirin
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt (if your red curry paste is really salty you may want to cut back)
3 kaffir lime leaves cut into a thin chiffonade
1/2 tsp baking powder

to serve
sweet Thai chili sauce
cilantro leaves

Put all the ingredients for the cucumber water in a food processor and puree. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve (such as a chinois) or empty the contents into a piece of cheese cloth and squeeze out the cucumber juice. Put the juice in the fridge and reserve the pulp for something else.

For the onion salad, just add all the ingredients into a small bowl and stir to combine.

Add some water to a steamer that’s big enough to hold 4 ramekins and heat.

Make sure the fish has no bones by running your fingers along it then chop it into rough chunks and throw it in a food processor. Process until it’s a smooth paste. Add the egg, curry, mirin, corn starch, brown sugar, and salt and process until smooth and glossy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple times. Empty the mixture into a bowl and mix in the lime leaves and baking powder with a spatula.

Liberally oil 4 ramekins and divide the fish paste between the ramekins. Press the mixture into the ramekins with a wet hand and smooth off the tops. Place the ramekins in the hot steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes or until the fishcakes have puffed up and are cooked through.

When the ramekins are cool enough to handle, drain off any excess liquid and unmould into shallow bowls. Pour some of the chilled cucumber water around the fish cake, then add small droplets of sweet thai chili sauce to the cucumber water. Top the fish cake with the onion salad and some cilantro leaves.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Ha! I do the same thing when I have ideas (except I hastily scrawl them on scraps of paper). This is brilliant, Marc. I love the scent of cucumbers – so refreshing!

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Ha! I do the same thing when I have ideas (except I hastily scrawl them on scraps of paper). This is brilliant, Marc. I love the scent of cucumbers – so refreshing!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    That my friend is pure genius! I can’t believe you turned the ubiquitous Thai Fish cake into something so soft and airy. Absolutely love this Marc..bravo!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    That my friend is pure genius! I can’t believe you turned the ubiquitous Thai Fish cake into something so soft and airy. Absolutely love this Marc..bravo!

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    I love your inspiration for this dish, it’s hilarious actually…love it.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    I love your inspiration for this dish, it’s hilarious actually…love it.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com/ maybelles mom (feeding maybell

    Very nice. I do think fish works well with cucumber. I often pair a very spicy indian fish curry with salted cucumbers.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom (feeding maybelle)

    Very nice. I do think fish works well with cucumber. I often pair a very spicy indian fish curry with salted cucumbers.

  • http://eatingclubvancouver.blogspot.com/ [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Daydream away, I say, if it gets us fabulous dreamy dishes such as this. Creative and inspired!

  • http://eatingclubvancouver.blogspot.com [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Daydream away, I say, if it gets us fabulous dreamy dishes such as this. Creative and inspired!

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    I’m sure glad you emailed yourself this one, what a wealth of new ideas here! I drain cucumbers all the time and it never occurred to me I could use the juice.

    And how lovely this dish looks!

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    I’m sure glad you emailed yourself this one, what a wealth of new ideas here! I drain cucumbers all the time and it never occurred to me I could use the juice.

    And how lovely this dish looks!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good! Nicely presented. I send myself email to ensure that I don’t forget things as well. I just made some tzatziki sauce yesterday and after squeezing the water from the cucumber I was not sure what to do with it so I drank it and it was good. I would never have thought to use cucumber water like this.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good! Nicely presented. I send myself email to ensure that I don’t forget things as well. I just made some tzatziki sauce yesterday and after squeezing the water from the cucumber I was not sure what to do with it so I drank it and it was good. I would never have thought to use cucumber water like this.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    dammit! this looks amazing! i want it…although i have a bad tummy today….sounds and looks fantastic though. x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    dammit! this looks amazing! i want it…although i have a bad tummy today….sounds and looks fantastic though. x

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    What a unique creation with beautiful presentation! I love Tod Mun so I can imagine a fluffier & lighter version would be even better.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    What a unique creation with beautiful presentation! I love Tod Mun so I can imagine a fluffier & lighter version would be even better.

  • Fwmosher

    I made this dish tonight, and it was very, very good even though I forgot the sweet chili sauce initially. The cakes were a tiny bit on the mushy side as opposed to having solidified after steaming for 15 minutes. Love the concept and presentation as well.

  • Sneige

    omg this is exquisite! Fantastic blog! will follow!

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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