Last week my husband and I went to a dinner party at a friend’s house and I decided to bring over a popular appetizer I grew up eating- these delicious fish cakes. They remind me so much of Queens, NY. Anytime I was out running errands on the weekends and happened to be on Liberty avenue, I’d stop into a local West Indian bakery and buy two of these fish cakes to keep me going until dinner time. They would come with a side of mango sour which made the taste just out of this world. The tangy sauce with the spicy fish cake was just too delicious for me. Mom used to make them for parties and get-togethers at our house as well. I remember them being simple to make and very filling. A good fish cake for me has to be spicy, have good flavor, and contain more fish than filling (potato), pour a little mango sour on top, grab me a cream soda, and I’m a happy girl.
Types of Fish that will work:
- King fish
- Striped bass
These are some pretty good options to choose from, but don’t feel limited to anything on this list. If you like another type of fish or would like to experiment, go ahead and use something else or even combine two types (saltfish and tilapia are great together)- and don’t forget to let us know how it turned out.
You’ll need about 2lbs of fish. I used tilapia fillets since that’s what I had available. Wash and pat dry fish with paper towels. Place on a greased baking sheet or line your pan with aluminum foil to help with the clean up.
Season fish how you like. I sprinkled black pepper, salt, and some Cajun seasoning.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until completely cooked.
Place fish in a deep bowl and flake with a fork.
Add desired seasonings. I added salt, Old bay, garlic powder, and lime juice.
I always have a batch of this seasoning in my refrigerator. I use it to season meat, fish, and rice among many other things. It’s simply one large yellow onion, one head of garlic, peeled, 2-3 wiri wiri peppers (you can use scotch bonnets or red chili peppers), and fresh thyme leaves. Blend with 1/4 cup of water to make the puree. Store in an air-tight glass jar.
Chop up 1-2 scallions, wiri wiri pepper, and desired amount of freshly chopped onion and garlic or a couple of tablespoons of the pureed onion-garlic seasoning above. If you are making this eggless, I recommend using the pureed onion-garlic seasoning because it will give the mixture a good texture. Chopped onion and garlic will need an egg in the mix to help keep it together. You can also add any fresh herbs that you like to this mix.
Mix in scallions, pepper, and chopped or pureed onion/garlic- which ever you are using.
Peel and chop two medium potatoes. Boil until potato is cooked, but still has a give to it when pricked with a fork meaning, it doesn’t fall apart easily. Mash immediately after draining. For a variation, cassava can also be used in place of the potato.
Add enough mashed potato, a little at a time so that you can form a ball. If you have a little potato left over, then add some butter and salt and eat it whenever you want. Taste fish cake mixture to see if you desire any other seasonings.
Form into little disc shapes. I got about 10 cakes out of this mixture.
For eggless: Immediately after forming cakes, press cake firmly into breadcrumbs to coat. Get ready to pan fry.
Using eggs: beat one egg, add 1 tsp water and mix. Add fish cake to egg mixture, coat on both sides then immediately place in bowl with breadcrumbs. Coat on both sides.
Heat a shallow frying pan with enough oil to pan fry. Place cakes in pan, leaving enough room to turn them over. Cook until they are golden brown. For eggless cakes, turn only once or twice, fish cake will be slightly soft when frying since there are no eggs, but once it cools down it will stiffen up.
Here is a photo of the fish cake without eggs (and just breadcrumbs). Golden brown and crispy!
Here is a photo of the fish cake coated with eggs (and breadcrumbs). The crust is thicker because of the egg. Equally as yummy!
These fish cakes make wonderful bite-sized appetizers as well, serve ’em up at your next get-together!