Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thai Curry Salmon Cakes and a Bit of Rambling about Curry Pastes

Thai salmon cakes are a super fast, inexpensive dinner that is nice enough for a little dinner party but makes a quick weeknight dinner. All you need is a can of salmon and a few other "pantry" items. I keep an eye out for canned salmon on sale and stock up when I see it go down to $3 or so a can. Try to find wild caught salmon, it tastes better and is better for you. I am incredibly lucky to have a dear friend in Kodiak, Alaska who occasionally mails us a few jars of salmon, canned by her mother. Nothing tastes as good as the salmon in those jars, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

I have been working on perfecting this salmon cake recipe for a few months. These tasty treats have been our go-to quick dinner option, but they hadn't been quite right. Usually the cakes fell apart, so instead of a cake, we had been eating salmon hash. This weekend, I finally had a break-though.

I used my food processor to mix up the curry paste, onions, eggs and added the magic ingredient - a slice of bread. Then I stirred in the salmon and cilantro. Then these were gently patted into cakes,rolled in panko, and pan fried. These FINALLY came out perfectly! Crispy on the outside and tender and flavorful on the inside.

Here is some thoughts on Curry Paste:
I buy Maesri green and yellow Thai curry paste in small tins at the local Asian food market, they cost about 60 cents each. (They look kinda like cat food cans.) I use a spoonful in this dish, soups, curries, or meat rubs, and then put the rest into a baggie and freeze for later use. This brand of curry is much cheaper than what you find in the regular grocery store, has REAL ingredients, and tastes wonderful. (Although, if you are buying through Amazon I would go with this size. It will last forever in the fridge.)

This is a very flexible recipe. It easily doubles or triples. The canned salmon is salty, so don't add additional salt.
Thai Salmon Cakes
1 teaspoon green or yellow curry paste
1 egg
1/4 of a medium onion
1 small slice of fresh bread (whole wheat or white), torn into small pieces.
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 can salmon
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying

1. In a food processor, puree onions. Then add curry paste, bread, and egg. If needed add a tablespoon of water to get the machine going.
2. Drain the can of salmon. (There is no need to remove the bones or skin. Although it looks a little scary you won't notice them at all when the cakes are all made up. Think of all the extra calcium from the bones.) Empty the salmon into a medium bowl. Throw in the chopped cilantro.
3. Pour the mix from the food processor over the salmon and use your hands to combine everything.
4. Pat the salmon into patties about the size of the palm of your hand. Roll in panko.
5. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of oil to the pan. When the oil is hot carefully place the cakes in the pan. Brown on each side.

We like to eat this with jasmine rice and a stir fried veggie.


  1. Joanne, Have you ever made the Thai Salmon cakes with rolled oats instead of bread? I'm thinking about trying this today. Thanks for the inspiration! Deb Hainisch

  2. Sorry...I meant Joanna. I know you are not Joanne. Whoops!