Thai fish cakes, known as thod mun pla, are a tasty treat which are popular with locals as well as tourists. Prices can vary greatly depending on whether you are buying the fish cakes as a quick snack from a Thai street hawker or as an appetizer in an upscale restaurant. Wherever you buy the fish cakes from in Thailand, the basic preparation method is similar. Fresh fish is mixed with chilli paste, chopped string beans and chilli sauce. To produce a better texture, the doughy mixture is normally blended by hand rather than a food processor. The soft sticky mixture is then formed into round cakes before being deep-fried. Thod mun pla are usually served with a dipping sauce that consists of sliced cucumber, crushed peanuts, chillies and vinegar.
Whilst I might be an expert at eating thod mun pla, I’m an amateur when it comes to making them. If you’d like to try your hand at making your own Thai fish cakes, there is no shortage of online recipes or Thai cookery books to choose from. The recipe from Rick Stein seems to get good reviews for being as close to authentic as you can get, but you can experiment and find what works best for you. You don’t have to use expensive fillets of fish. In Thailand, a firm white fish called featherback fish is often used, but any similar fish such as cod, coley, pollock or whiting is suitable.