Thai fish cakes with dipping sauce

Ingredients to make about 15

500g white fish fillets, shin and bones removed
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon chopped red chilli
2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander leaves
10 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1cm lengths (optional)
2 spring onions, chopped
Salt
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying

For the dipping sauce:

1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small cucumber, diced
2 long red chillies, finely sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander leaves

These are classic spicy fish cakes – great as a starter, snack or a hot nibble to have with drinks. These fish cakes can be made up to eight hours ahead of cooking.

Chop the fish into 2cm pieces, place in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the egg, cornflour, fish sauce, curry paste, chilli and coriander and process until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the beans, if using, and spring onion. Mix well and season with a little salt.

Form the mixture into small fish cakes using a spoon or wet hands. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and flatten slightly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce, dissolve the sugar in two tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, diced cucumber, chilli and coriander.

Pour the oil into a large frying pan to a depth of about 5mm and place over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the fish cakes for about two to three minutes each side or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the dipping sauce.

From The Really Useful Cookbook by David Herbert (Michael Joseph, £25).

Sommelier's choice

Château Cavalier, Côtes de Provence 2007, France

Rosés are back in fashion and this one has gorgeous aromas of red fruit, ripe apricots, and a hint of spice. Perfect served chilled as an accompaniment to light meals such as these Thai fish cakes.

Nicolas, £9.99, www.nicolas.co.uk

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