This is actually derived from a recipe for shrimp cakes that I used to make at Spice Market restaurant in NYC. Since shrimp is not kosher, I recreated it using cod-fish and it works quite well.
The trick is to not over pulse it in the food processor so that you still have some texture. I tried this recipe back in 2011 using tilapia (this was back when I just wrote blog posts but didn’t quantify recipes ) and the texture was great for this application, but since then I have heard some pretty disturbing news about tilapia fish – so I can’t bring myself to cook with it anymore.
The flavors here are sweet, sour, salty, spicy and a little umami. All the wonderful things that Southeast Asian cuisine is notorious for. Nuoc Cham is a dressing or dip primarily used in Vietnam. Don’t let the stink of fish sauce scare you – it does wonders for the depth of flavor. You can find it here on amazon
If you can find Chinese green beans or sometimes called “yard beans” those are even more delicious here. I also used a jalapeno instead of a Thai bird chili because they are easier to get a hold of – but if you can find one, use it.
This makes a wonderful appetizer and freezes well. Enjoy!
Cod Cakes with Nuoc Cham
For the Cod Cakes
- 1 pound cod fish, roughly chopped in food processor
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (more of the thick cream is better)
- 2 Tablespoons lemongrass, minced (bottom part only)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
- 2 egg whites
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup green beans (preferrably Chinese long beans) sliced thin
For the Nuoc Cham
- 1/2 cup Rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Cucumber, brunoise
- Peanuts, chopped
- Mint, chopped "confetti" method (little squares) or chiffonade
- Cilantro, chiffonade
- For the Nuoc Cham, mix all ingredients well and allow to sit while you make the cod cakes.
- For the cod cakes, mix all ingredients together and form a small tester to fry up and check for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. Once the seasoning is to your liking, form small patties and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and pat each patty down with paper towels.
- In a little oil, saute cod cakes until golden brown on each side ( press down with a spatula )
- To serve, place some cucumber and peanuts in a small dipping bowl and top with nuoc cham dressing. Top with mint and cilantro. Serve with cod cakes immediately.