x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Lose that, eat this: sautéed fishcakes

Fishcakes can be rather heavy, especially in restaurants, but here's how you can make your own, healthier version.

Sautéed fishcakes
Sautéed fishcakes

European-style fish cakes, consisting of a mixture of potato and fish, can often be rather heavy. This is particularly true of restaurant versions, which tend to feature far more (butter enriched) mash than fish. If the cakes are breadcrumbed and deep fried this ups the calorie count considerably, and that's without even bringing the mayonnaise-based tartare sauce and mandatory portion of chips on the side into the equation. Although Thai-style fishcakes might seem like a healthier option, they are often fried in lots of oil and presented with a sugary sweet chilli or high-calorie peanut-dipping sauce.

The fishcakes in the following recipe are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and are filled with flavour. They are sautéed in a minimal amount of oil and drained on kitchen paper after they're cooked, which helps rid them of any excess grease.

To maintain the characteristic chewy texture it's important not to over-process the mixture when you blend it. Choose a perky, fresh-looking lettuce to serve with this dish; the crunchy leaves make a nice foil to the Asian-influenced flavour of the fishcakes.

Sautéed fishcakes

Serves 2 (as a main course)

For the fishcakes 300g local sustainable white fish boned and skinned - for example, pink ear emperor (shaari eshkeli) or two-bar sea bream (faskar) 150g raw tiger prawns, shelled and deveined 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked small handful mint leaves -1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 2 spring onions, finely chopped 2 teaspoons soy sauce 1 lime (zest and juice) 1 egg 1 tbsp groundnut oil

To serve: Iceberg or baby gem lettuce Lime wedges


Cut the fish into chunks and roughly chop the prawns. Place in a food processor with the coriander, mint, red chilli, spring onions, soy sauce and lime juice and zest. Blend until you have a finely minced mixture. Add the egg and pulse briefly; the mixture should still have some texture. Take a tablespoon of mixture at a time and form it into a ball. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the ball out into a small round, with a diameter of about 5cm. Transfer to a large plate or tray and repeat until you've used up all the mixture. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour; this firms the fishcakes up and prevents them from falling apart when you cook them. Heat a tablespoon of groundnut oil in a large non-stick frying pan. When you can feel heat rising from the pan, add the fishcakes (you may need to do this in batches) and cook for one to two minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Wrap individual fishcakes in lettuce leaves to create an edible basket and serve the lime wedges on the side.