Recipe courtesy of Susan Vu

Fish Cakes with Pickled Cucumbers (Tord Man Plaa)

Kaffir lime leaves are unique to Thai cuisine and give a refreshing blast to these crispy fish cakes. The pickled cucumbers add spiciness and color.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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One 1-inch piece ginger, grated

Fish Cakes:

1 pound skinless cod fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup long beans, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds

2 tablespoons red curry paste

1 tablespoon fish sauce

5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, grated

1 egg, beaten

Pickled Cucumbers:

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 red Thai bird chiles, thinly sliced

1 cup diced English cucumbers (1/4-inch dice)

Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. For the fish cakes: In a food processor, pulse the cod until it just forms a paste, 10 to 12 times. The fish should be mostly smooth in texture but can have small chunks. Transfer the fish to a large bowl and add the long beans, curry paste, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, egg and ginger and mix well with your hands. Using 2 tablespoons per cake, form the fish mixture into small cakes about 2 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Place the cakes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  2. For the pickled cucumbers: Combine the white vinegar, 1/4 cup water, the fish sauce, sugar and chiles in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the diced cucumbers and stir to combine. Refrigerate while you fry the fish cakes. 
  3. Heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. The oil is hot enough when you place the tip of a wooden chopstick or the back of a wooden spoon into it and small bubbles form around it. Fry the cakes in batches until light golden brown and cooked through, turning occasionally, from 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the cooked fish cakes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to catch any excess oil. Transfer the cakes to a serving plate and top with pickled cucumbers.