CuisineFrenchFriedIndianMainsMeatQuick & EasySeafoodThai

Thai Fish Cakes

20 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 110

Fish Cakes can often be considered bland and unexciting, but not when it comes to THAI Fish Cakes! These delectable delights are a classic Thai street food and a personal favorite as a starter at Thai restaurants, right alongside Chicken Satay.

The fantastic news is that making THAI Fish Cakes at home is surprisingly easy. With just a few key ingredients like fish, red curry paste, egg, rice flour, and fish sauce, you’re all set. Simply blend the ingredients, form into patties, and pan fry to perfection! Enjoy the wonderful flavors of Thai cuisine right in your own kitchen!

Fish Cakes Thai Fish Cakes

Thai fish cakes

Absolutely! Thai restaurants often feature Thai Fish Cakes and Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce as popular appetizers. While they are undeniably delicious, ordering them can sometimes be disappointing due to their relatively high prices for small portions.

However, the good news is that making these appetizers at home can be a much more cost-effective and satisfying option. By preparing them yourself, you can save up to 80% compared to restaurant prices, and you have the freedom to make larger quantities and adjust the flavors to your liking. Homemade versions can be just as tasty as the takeout, giving you the joy of enjoying these Thai delicacies without breaking the bank!

What Thai Fish Cakes taste like

If you’re a fan of Thai Red Curry, fish, and finger foods, then Thai Fish Cakes are the perfect choice for you!

The star ingredient in these fish cakes is the red curry paste, which infuses them with the delightful flavors of Thai cuisine. These fish cakes have a unique texture that resembles Asian fish balls—slightly spongey. Though the term “spongey” might not immediately sound appetizing, it’s the best way to describe the texture.

The texture of these fish cakes sets them apart from other pattie-shaped dishes like fritters and sausage patties. It’s not unpleasant at all, just different and adds to the overall charm of these delectable Thai delights. If you’re up for a culinary adventure that combines the goodness of Thai Red Curry with a delightful finger-food experience, these Thai Fish Cakes are calling your name!

The BEST Thai Red Curry Paste – Maesri

When making recipes that require just a few tablespoons of curry paste, I find it convenient to use store-bought rather than making homemade Red Curry Paste.

The standout and best store-bought Thai Red Curry Paste, in my experience, is from the brand called Maesri. It’s also my go-to choice for Thai Green Curry. Compared to other brands, Maesri delivers a more authentic flavor profile and isn’t overly sweet.

You can find Maesri’s Thai Red Curry Paste sold in small, affordable cans for approximately $1.30, making it the most budget-friendly option available. You can purchase it in various Australian large grocery stores like Coles, Woolies, and Harris, as well as in Asian grocery stores. For those in the US, it’s also available on Amazon at a competitive price.

How to make Thai Fish Cakes

  • Place fish, red curry paste (homemade or store bought), cilantro/coriander, egg, lime juice and fish sauce in a food processor, whizz to mince;
  • Mix in rice or cornflour (cornstarch) and green beans; and
  • Form patties and cook.

Simple, right? Do you really need me to write out the whole recipe for you??? (Don’t worry, I did! I always do!)

A note on authenticity!

Thai Fish Cakes are an iconic Thai street food widely enjoyed throughout Thailand, from bustling Bangkok to the beautiful tourist islands like Phuket and Koh Samui (I’m really longing to go back and experience Thailand again!).

While staying true to the essence of authentic Fish Cakes made in Thailand, I do incorporate two slight differences:

  1. Use of rice flour – In traditional Thai recipes, fish paste, which is starchy fermented fish, is employed, yielding a smooth paste. This paste is then vigorously beaten (up to 30 minutes by hand!) to activate the starch, resulting in wonderfully bouncy and spongey fish cakes. However, in Western countries, we achieve a similar texture by starting with fish fillets, mincing them, and combining them with rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch).
  2. No deep frying – Unlike the traditional method of deep frying used in Thailand and many restaurants, I choose to pan fry the fish cakes. I firmly believe that pan-frying doesn’t compromise the flavor or texture significantly, making it a healthier and equally delicious alternative.

By embracing these adjustments, we can relish these scrumptious Thai Fish Cakes with just as much delight and satisfaction!

How to serve Thai Fish Cakes

A convenient option for a dipping sauce that closely resembles what you’d find at Thai restaurants is a simple store-bought bottle of Sweet Chilli Sauce.

Thai Fish Cakes are typically enjoyed as a starter at Thai restaurants. However, if you want to turn it into a complete meal, consider serving them with the following side dishes:

  • Steamed Jasmine rice
  • Thai Fried Rice
  • Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Coconut Rice
  • Crunchy Asian Slaw – an all-around Asian salad that complements various Asian cuisines
  • Asian Sesame Dressing – perfect for fresh salads or steamed vegetables

I truly hope you give these Fish Cakes a try, and I’m confident that with just one bite, you’ll be taken aback by their familiar and authentic flavors, reminiscent of what you savor at Thai restaurants! Enjoy!

Thai Fish Cakes

Thai Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes can often be considered bland and unexciting, but not when it comes to THAI Fish Cakes! These delectable delights are a classic Thai street food and a personal favorite as a starter at Thai restaurants, right alongside Chicken Satay.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
total time
30 mins



  • 1 lb / 500g white fish fillets , skinless and pin boned, cut into chunks (Note 1)

  • 3 tbsp red curry paste (Note 2)

  • 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves , chopped

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (sub soy sauce)

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup (40g) rice flour (or cornstarch / corn flour)

  • 6 green beans , finely sliced (optional, Note 3)

  • 4 - 6 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sun flower)


  • Sweet chilli sauce

  • Cilantro/coriander leaves

  • Lime wedges


Place the fish, red curry paste, cilantro/coriander, fish sauce, lime, and egg in a food processor. Whizz the ingredients until the fish is minced and the mixture becomes a paste-like consistency.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the rice flour and green beans until the flour is fully incorporated.
Take 1/4 cup of the mixture (you can use an ice cream scoop for easy measuring) and shape it into patties about 1cm / 2/5" thick.
Heat enough oil in a skillet over medium-high heat to cover the base (around 4 tablespoons).
Carefully place the patties in the hot oil and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until they turn deep golden brown. Once cooked, transfer the fish cakes to a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Repeat the process with the remaining mixture, adding more oil to the skillet if needed.
Serve the fish cakes with Sweet Chilli Sauce, and garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves and lime wedges on the side. For a complete meal, consider serving them with Thai Fried Rice or plain jasmine rice.


Fish - This recipe works wonderfully with most common white fish fillets, and it's equally delightful with salmon and trout. Excellent choices include Ling, Tilapia, Snapper, Barramundi, Silver Dory, John Dory, Basa, Hokki, Perch, Flathead, and Monkfish. However, it's best to avoid super lean fish like swordfish and tuna, as well as delicate fish like flounder and Dover sole, and small whole fish like sardines or mackerel. When using frozen fish, ensure it is fully thawed, pat it dry, and then proceed with the recipe as instructed. Red Curry Paste - For convenience, store-bought curry paste works perfectly fine for fish cakes. However, if you prefer homemade red curry paste, use double the quantity stated in the recipe. My personal favorite store brand is Maesri, offering an authentic taste at an incredibly affordable price of $1.25 per can. Any Thai Red Curry Paste will work well, but opt for Asian brands as they tend to be superior in flavor. Beans - Traditionally, Thai Fish Cakes incorporate sliced green beans. However, in some Australian restaurants, they may use sliced shallots/scallions or omit the beans altogether. Stirring flour in - It may be tempting to add the rice flour directly into the food processor. However, blending too long can cause the starch to become overly activated, leading to a gluey paste and tough fish cakes. The required blitzing time varies depending on the type of fish used. To be safe, it's best to stir the flour in at the end. Ice cream scooper or cookie scooper with a lever - Using an ice cream scooper or cookie scooper with a lever makes for easy and clean batter scooping. The standard size is 1/4 cup. Storage - These fish cakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave. While freezing them after cooking is untested, there's no reason why it wouldn't work well. In fact, you can find frozen fish cakes available for purchase. Nutrition per fish cake - The nutritional information provided assumes the preparation of 12 fish cakes and the use of 6 tablespoons of oil.
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