In the north of Thailand I joined one of those cooking courses aimed for backpacking tourists. With a small group you first go to the market to check out all the exotic ingredients which includes the obligatory taste of bbq’ed insects. With a bunch of veggies, herbs and other stuff the group head to the chef’s house to cook together. In my class we made some spicy yet wonderful fish cakes. I have since I got home tried to make my own with a rather pleasing result. I serve the dish as a starter with sweet chilli sauce and salty peanuts.

Serves 4

500 g fish fillets
50 g flour
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp coriander
3 tsp red curry paste
1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
100 g green beans, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Sunflower oil
Sweet chilli sauce, cucumber and peanuts for serving

Cut the fish into medium pieces. Place in a food processor and blend for about 20 seconds until a thick paste.
Add the flour, fish sauce, egg, coriander, curry paste and chilli pepper. Blend for another 10 seconds or until well mixed. Place the mixture in a bowl. Add the beans and spring onions and stir. Place in the fridge and chill for at least one hour.
With wet hands shape small patties with the mixture (about 2 tablespoons is good).
Add oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Fry the patties on both sides until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.