Mar 18

Thai Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad



Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad




Just another sad rainy day in the Netherlands. The day started off well enough and we went for a Sunday drive while it lasted. We even went to get our bagel fix in Bos en Lomerplein, but that’s where the fun kinda ended. I got my bagel but R. didn’t coz the kid who took our order botched it up royally. We kinda knew it was coming tho, judging from the blank expression on his face when he took our order. I ordered the smoked chicken and avocado, R. ordered two ham and cheese grilled bagels. What eventually came was my smoked chicken and avocado, and two avocado and salad bagels. What the …?? So we sent it back, repeated our order to the kid and ….. the bagels simply never came. Typical Dutch cafe service if you ask me. We used to get so worked up about this but now we have come to expect it and simply pay for what we have eaten and walk out. Never in my entire life have I encountered such horrid service until I arrived here. I don’t know if I will ever get over it. One must simply grit one’s teeth and live with it, I suppose. Just make sure you have something substantial to eat before leaving your house coz you never really know IF you are going to get fed at your cafe of choice. I mean, it’s not like the menu was all in Dutch either; it had an English page and we even POINTED OUT our order to the waiter. There are veeeeerrrry few cafes that give good food and service here in Amsterdam, so the ones that are good we keep visiting time and time again. Some places don’t even acknowledge your presence or show you to a table. You are left standing in the doorway wondering if you should wait to be seated or walk in and pick one.



We once waited 25 minutes for someone to bring us a menu! Three separate people asked us if we were ready to order and we said we’d like to if only we had a menu. Each one promised to return with said menu. None did. So we walked out … starving. On our anniversary dinner I chose to go to a rather “famous” restaurant for dinner, having been enticed by their menu which I perused online before making a reservation. I also checked that their menu was current. But when we got there we were told there was no steak, no grilled fish, no rabbit, not even the beef burger. So what IS available then??? The waitress unblinkingly told us that we could order anything we want from the pasta menu, as that was all they were serving. PASTA?? I am paying € 60 per head for PASTA?! Needless to say I returned home and wrote a scathing review on TripAdvisor immediately.



Going out to eat in the Netherlands is a bit like playing Russian Roulette; you never know which visit is going to blow your brains. But enough about Dutch customer service (rather, the lack thereof). *{Takes deep breath}* Thankfully, not all places fall into that category tho. Best example would be Pasoek, Thai Restaurant down the road from where we live. This place serves up some pretty authentic Thai food and their service is always bright, bubbly and prompt. A large portion of their customers are Americans, and you can tell business is good when you see how busy this place gets during dinner time. Prices are pretty decent and I don’t mind paying for takeout coz the food is awesome and you’d typically receive your food piping hot in under one hour. Even if you are in the city center, heading on down to this place isn’t such a hassle coz you can hop on one of four buses from Centraal Station and get off 2-stops later at Mosplein. A fifteen minute ride, tops. Or if you are on rental bikes, then take the free ferry across the harbour and cycle for 10 mins. Easy peasy.



The fresh and zingy flavours of Thai cuisine has certainly gone global in the last decade or so. In almost every city you’ll find at least one outlet serving up Thai food. Lucky me then, coz I looooove Thai cuisine even tho sometimes it is a bit too spicy for me. Over the past couple of years I have made some Thai inspired dishes of my own like Coconut & Chicken Soup and Glass Noodle Salad. For today’s post I am going to share an amazing Thai fishcake recipe served alongside fresh cucumber salad.







Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad1




  • 400 g firm white fish
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 bunch coriander stalks
  • 1 fresh chillie
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • 2 tsp finely crushed ginger
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 egg white




Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad6



Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chillie
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 thinly sliced red onion or shallots
  • handful of toasted peanuts, crushed




For the fishcakes, simply place everything into a food processor and blitz to a pulp. You can decide how chunky or smooth you like your fishcakes to be. Also, you can vary the spiciness by adjusting the amount of red curry paste and amount of fresh chillies. Once the fish paste is ready, place in a glass bowl, cover in cling film and leave to marinade for 30 mins.



Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad2



Just before service, heat oil in a frying pan and spoon the fish paste into bite-sized balls. Place each ball in the frying pan and shallow fry for 2 – 3 minutes each side. Flatten each ball slightly to make them into patti shapes.



Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad3




Once they are golden and cooked thru, remove and drain on paper towels. Then transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven that’s been turned on to low. While they are “resting” in the oven, you can get on with the cucumber salad and the dressing.




Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad4



Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl : Fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, lime juice, chili, shallot, lemongrass, mint and coriander leaves. Give it a stir and allow the flavours to meld for a few minutes. Then peel ribbons of cucumber using a vegetable peeler. Place cucumbers in the dressing and toss lightly. Remove the cucumbers and plate up immediately. Do not let the cucumbers to sit in the dressing for long or it will wilt the cucumbers and pickle them.



Sprinkle the salad with crushed salted peanuts, and a bit more mint and coriander leaves. Serve with the warm fishcakes as a nice appetizer. These are superbly yummy with a combination of flavours; sweet, spicy, salty all wrapped up in one. If you like spicey salads then feel free to use bird’s eye chillies in place of large chillies.



Fishcakes & Cucumber Salad5



These fishcakes will definitely be the talk of your table … and one is never enough so be sure to cook up a decent batch with plenty of salad and dressing. I would suggest serving this with other Thai appetizers like green papaya salad, salt and pepper squid, spring rolls and pandan chicken. Such a wonderful array of appetizers, I think I am gonna have to make all of them at some point. But until then I leave you with this recipe and hope you give it a try.



~ Enjoy ~



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