Fans of Thai or Vietnamese food generally love the ubiquitous and addictive fishcakes, which have just the right balance of herbs, spices and seafood to make you come back for more. These fishcakes are baked in a muffin tray – which is so much easier than pan-frying them – then paired with lettuce cups (like san choy bao).
The aromatic nam jim, so full of rich umami flavour, is the perfect accompaniment. Add chilli as desired. If you’d like to reduce the amount of carbs in these, you can replace the mashed sweet potato with mashed cauliflower.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or good-quality animal fat*, plus extra for greasing
- 415 g jarred tuna, eel, mackerel, sardines or red salmon in brine, drained
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 250 g mashed sweet potato
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 long green or red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 iceberg lettuce leaves, trimmed into cups
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1⁄2 French shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 handful of coriander leaves
- 1 handful of Vietnamese mint leaves
- 1 handful of Thai basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 4 red Asian shallots, chopped
- 2 long red chillies, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2.5 cm piece of ginger, chopped
- 1 tablespoon washed and finely
- chopped coriander roots and stalks
- 150 ml lime juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or honey
- (optional) 2 1⁄2 tablespoons fish sauce
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tray.
For the Nam Jim
To make the nam jim, pound the shallot, chilli, garlic, ginger and coriander roots and stalks to a paste using a large mortar and pestle. Add the lime juice and mix well. Mix
in the sugar or honey (if using) and fish sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, so that the dressing is a balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet. Strain through a sieve and discard the pulp.
Place the coconut oil or fat, jarred fish, spring onion, coriander, sweet potato, lemon zest, chilli, eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until well combined. Spoon the mixture evenly into the holes of the prepared muffin tray. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the fishcakes are firm and cooked through. Allow them to cool in the tray for 2 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Place the fishcakes in the iceberg lettuce cups (1–2 per cup), top with the carrot, shallot and herbs and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Spoon over the nam jim and serve.
Easy Keto by Pete Evans, Published by Plum, RRP $ 24.99, Photography by William Meppem