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Crispy Fish Cakes

These fish cakes are extra special when wrapped in rice paper wrappers and tied with a long piece of chive, inspired by chef Ken Hom. Pan-frying the little bundle makes the wrapper crispy. The rice paper wrappers are the same wrappers used to make Vietnamese Summer Rolls . The chive tie is optional, but it jus looks so cute tied like package! If you have trouble finding long, thin Chinese chives (which are thicker, stronger and flatter than western chives), use a long piece of green onion (just the green part of the green onion). As always, choose a fish that you enjoy eating. The type of fish is pretty flexible here, since the fish will be pureed along with the herbs and seasonings. Tilapia fillets are inexpensive and work great in this fish cake! The type and amount of fresh chilli pepper that you use is up to you. If you enjoy spicy heat, choose a small, skinny fres chilli. If heat is not your thing, but you still enjoy the flavor of fresh pepper, go for the bigger, fatter chilli peppers or even minced red bell pepper.

  • MAKES 8 FISH CAKES –

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
1/4 cup (65 ml) water
Eight 9-in (23-cm) round dried rice paper wrappers
8 Chinese chives, softened in hot water (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
1 recipe Thai Dipping Sauce , for serving

FOR THE FISH CAKES
3/4 lb (350 g) fish, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) chunks
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro (coriander)
1/4 cup (25 g) panko bread crumbs (substitute with regular
bread crumbs)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce (substitute with 1 tablespoon soy sauce)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh chilli pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Instructions:
1 In the bowl of a food processor, add the Fish Cakes ingredients.
Pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse paste. Divide the paste into 8 equal portions.
2 Combine the cornstarch (or flour) and water in a small bowl and mix well to make a slurry.
3 Fill a large, shallow dish with warm water. Dip one rice paper into the water for 6 seconds and let the water drip off. Transfer onto a clean, dry surface. The wrapper will still be a little stiff; don’t worry, as it will soften up.
4 Using your hands, form one fish paste portion into a flat square patty, about 3 x 3 inches (7.5 x 7.5 cm), and place in the middle of the dampened rice paper. Fold the top of the rice paper down over the patty, and fold the bottom of the rice paper up and over the patty. Dip a pastry brush (or use your finger) into the slurry and paint the remaining left and right sides of the rice paper. This will help secure the wrapper on the fish cake. Fold over the right and then the left side, making sure there are no air bubbles. Tie the fish cake with a chive, if using, and place on a clean, dry plate lined with plastic wrap. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap to prevent drying. Use a towel to wipe your work surface before laying down another rice paper wrapper. Repeat with the remaining fish cakes.
5 In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Whe the oil is hot, add 4 of the fish cakes, making sure that they do not touch each other, otherwise they’ll stick together.
Fry for 3 minutes on each side.
Fry the remaining batch.
Serve with the Thai Dipping Sauce.

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