Made with white fish fillets and red curry paste, they are served with homemade red nam jim. You might also like Luke Nguyen's Vietnamese fish cakes recipe, which are delicious served with rice noodles and wrapped in lettuce leaves. Also, browse our colourful collection of fish recipes.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (72 votes)


Fish cakes

  • 700 g (1 lb 6 oz) white fish fillets (such as whiting or John dory), skinned, boned and roughly chopped
  • 80 g (2½ oz) red curry paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • ½ cup snake beans (or green beans), finely sliced
  • 750 ml (1½ pints) vegetable oil


Red nam jim

  • 6 long red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 red birdseye chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 coriander (cilantro) root, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp shaved palm sugar
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz) lime juice
  • 1½ tbsp fish sauce

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place the fish, curry paste, egg, fish sauce and sugar in a food processor and blend for around 3 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth and sticky (this helps the cakes hold together). Scoop into a bowl and stir in the lime leaves and snake beans. Roll the mixture into 18 even-sized balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and refrigerate until needed.

To make the red nam jim, using a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies, garlic and coriander root into a fine paste. Add the palm sugar and combine. Add the lime juice a little at a time until the ingredients are well incorporated, then add the fish sauce. The consistency should be like a wet salsa. Taste for a balance of sweet, sour and salty flavours, adjusting if required.

Heat the oil in a wok to 180°C (350°F) and fry the cakes in batches until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel. Serve the fish cakes with the red nam jim.


Recipe from Lotus: Asian Flavours by Teage Ezard with photographs by Greg Elms. Published by Hardie Grant Books.