Vegan Thai red curry 'fish' cakes - these easy fishless cakes are packed with flavour, have a great texture and are simple to make.
They are subtly 'fishy' and have that flaky, fish-like texture, just like the real deal!
These vegan Thai red curry 'fish' cakes are a very satisfying, delicious meal that is perfect for any vegans who may be missing fish.
Even if you don't miss fish (I certainly don't!), these are a great meal in their own right.
Taste-wise these fish cakes really pack it in! They have all the flavours of a Thai red curry, but in fish cake form.
They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with fish-like flakes of jackfruit or banana blossom.
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Thai Red Curry 'Fish' Cakes?:
Nori seaweed: This is what gives the fish cakes their fishy, 'of the sea' flavour. It is generally used to roll sushi and most supermarkets sell it so you shouldn't have any trouble finding it.
You can omit it if you really must but the flavour won't be quite right without it.
Jackfruit: This is what replaces the fish. It has a flaky texture so works really well. Make sure that it is tinned young green jackfruit however, not ripe jackfruit.
You can also use banana blossom instead, it works equally as well.
Firm tofu: A pet peeve of mine is when vegan recipes copy a non-vegan recipe that would usually be high protein, but don't actually replace the protein source. Jackfruit has a bit, but nowhere near as much as fish does.
To counter this, I add crumbled extra firm tofu to ensure that these 'fish' cakes still contain plenty of protein.
You can also use a well drained and coarsely mashed tin of chickpeas instead.
Potato: Mashed potato forms the base of these 'fish' cakes, holding everything together.
Breadcrumbs: Along with the potato these help to bind the fish cakes together. You can use gluten free ones if needed.
Thai red curry paste: Make sure that the one you use is vegan friendly as some of them contain fish sauce. I used Asda own brand.
Spring onions, garlic, ginger, coriander, soy sauce, lime: There is no chance of these vegan Thai red curry 'fish' cakes being bland with all of these flavours going on! Use tamari instead of soy sauce for gluten free
You can have these fish cakes as they are, but I really like to coat them with breadcrumbs before frying them for a crispy outside.
If you do decide to coat them, you will need flour and milk to make a batter, and panko breadcrumbs to roll them in. (Regular breadcrumbs will work too, but panko are superior).
How To Make Vegan Thai Red Curry 'Fish' Cakes:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Blitz the sheet of nori in a blender or spice grinder until it is very finely chopped, almost powdered.
Peel and dice the potato then simmer it until it is tender. Drain very well and mash.
Squeeze the excess liquid out of the tofu then use your hands to crumble it into a mixing bowl.
Drain the jackfruit then squeeze as much water as possible out of it over the sink. You want it as dry as possible.
Use your hands to flake the jackfruit into the bowl of tofu.
Fry the Thai red curry paste, garlic, ginger and spring onions in a little olive oil for about 3 minutes until fragrant.
Add this mixture to the mixing bowl along with the mashed potato, nori, breadcrumbs, lime juice, soy sauce, coriander and some salt and pepper.
Mix it all together really well until it is fully combined. It is easier to do this with your hands than with a spoon.
Divide the mixture into eight and shape each portion into a patty.
At this point you can simply fry the patties as they are, or you can add a breadcrumb coating.
To make the coating, whisk together plain flour and milk to make a batter. Pour some flour into a wide bowl, and panko breadcrumbs into another.
Coat one of the fish cakes first in the flour, then in the batter and finally in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the fish cakes, placing them on a baking sheet once they have been coated.
Heat a layer of oil in a frying pan. Fry the fish cakes for about 5 minutes per side until golden.
Drain them on kitchen paper then bake for about 15 minutes until heated through.
Weigh the potato so you get exactly the right proportions.
It is important to make sure that you squeeze as much liquid as you possibly can out of the jackfruit/banana blossom. Take handfuls of it and squeeze the life out of it over the sink; you don't want soggy fish cakes!
On this note, you should also give the tofu a squeeze to get rid of excess liquid, and make sure that you drain the potato really well before mashing too.
For the best flavour, stick to the recipe and don't omit any of the ingredients.
The Thai red curry paste can be swapped for Thai green curry paste.
Double check that the Thai red curry paste is vegan. Some of them contain fish sauce.
If you want these to be extra spicy, add a finely chopped chilli or two.
The breadcrumb coating is totally optional. You can omit it and simply form the mixture into patties and pan-fry them for about 10 minutes, 5 per side. There is no need to oven bake them in this case.
What To Serve Them With:
These fish cakes are delicious served with sweet chilli sauce and vegetable ribbons.
Alternatively, they are also great with chips, peas and mayo!
Storage And Make Ahead Instructions:
To make ahead: Prepare the fish cake mixture as instructed, form into patties (but do not add breadcrumb coating), place on a lined tray, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Cook as instructed, adding the batter/breadcrumb coating just before cooking (if using).
Leftovers: Leftover fish cakes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven on a lined baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4.
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Vegan Thai Red Curry 'Fish' Cakes
- 1 sheet nori seaweed
- 400 g (14 oz) (unpeeled weight) potato (about 1 large)
- 280 g (10 oz) extra firm tofu (I use Tofoo)
- one 400 g (14 oz) tin young green jackfruit or banana blossom (250g drained weight)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 Tablespoon grated ginger (either fresh, frozen or from a jar)
- 4 large cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 5 spring onions (scallions) sliced
- 75 g (½ cup) dry breadcrumbs
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- a large handful fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- a good grinding of black pepper
- 100 g (scant 1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour divided
- 150 ml (½ cup + 2 Tablespoons) unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- pinch salt
- about 100 g (⅔ cup) panko breadcrumbs
- Blitz the sheet of nori in a blender or spice grinder until it is very finely chopped, almost powdered.
- Peel and dice the potato. Place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring up to the boil and simmer it until it is tender. Drain very well and mash. Don't add any milk or butter when mashing it, you want it to be quite dry.
- Squeeze the excess liquid out of the tofu (just with your hands is fine) then use your hands to crumble it into small pieces into a mixing bowl.
- Drain the jackfruit or banana blossom then squeeze as much water as possible out of it over the sink. You want it as dry as possible. Use your hands to flake it into the bowl of tofu.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the Thai red curry paste, ginger, garlic and spring onions and cook for about 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add this mixture to the mixing bowl along with the mashed potato, nori, breadcrumbs, lime juice, soy sauce, coriander, salt and a good grinding of pepper.
- Mix it all together really well until it is fully combined. It is easier to do this with your hands than with a spoon.
- Divide the mixture into eight even pieces and shape each portion into a patty. (I use a scale for accuracy).
- At this point you can simply fry the patties as they are, for about 5 minutes per side until browned and heated through.
- If you want to add the breadcrumb coating, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Place 50g (scant ½ cup) of the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk in the milk to make a smooth batter.
- Place the other 50g of flour in another bowl, and the breadcrumbs in a third.
- Coat one of the fish cakes first in the flour, then in the batter and finally in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the fish cakes, placing them on a baking sheet once they have been coated.
- Heat a layer of oil in a frying pan. Fry the fish cakes for about 5 minutes per side until golden.
- Drain them on kitchen paper then place them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until heated through.
- See post above for tips, details, make-ahead and storage instructions and step-by-step photos.
- As with all my recipes I highly recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale, not the cup conversions.
- Weigh the potato so you get exactly the right proportions.
- It is important to make sure that you squeeze as much liquid as you possibly can out of the jackfruit/banana blossom. Take handfuls of it and squeeze the life out of it over the sink; you don't want soggy fish cakes!
- Double check that the Thai red curry paste is vegan. Some of them contain fish sauce.