Fish is an integral part of the cuisine of Kerala in tropical southwest India. Since this is a coastal region, off the Arabian Sea, a variety of fresh fish is always available. Fish is used not only in making curries and dry dishes but also in cakes that are usually served as a snack for evening tea, their crunchy, savory aspect complementing the sweet, milky tea. Any white fish, like cod, halibut or red snapper, will do, but I have made my version with salmon. On cold, rainy monsoon days in Kerala, I loved to sip a cup of hot tea and nibble on the crunchy cakes while watching the rain. I hope this dish will bring fond memories to you as well.
Simple fish cakes
- 1 portion salmon, skinless
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium size russet potato, boiled and mashed
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (or a mixture of 2 cloves, ½ teaspoon cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms and ½ star anise roasted and powdered)
- Heat coconut oil in a deep, medium-sized pan.
- Add shallots and sauté until translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté well.
- Add the salmon, salt, black pepper and garam masala and cover the pan, steaming the fish until cooked through. Once cooked, shred it with a fork in the pan and combine well with the shallots.
- Add cilantro leaves and mix well. Turn off the heat and transfer this mixture to a bowl.
- To that bowl, add the mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs. Make patties and shallow fry them for 2 minutes per side on medium heat. Enjoy them with hot, milky tea.
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