Fish Cakes 
with Sweet-Tart Sauce

Fish cakes in Thailand are 
often augmented with tapioca flour to make them sturdier; I opt for healthy, protein-rich quinoa instead. These make a great appetizer or can be served as a main course with noodles or rice. When preparing your quinoa for this recipe, use a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 12/3 cups water – this ensures your fish cakes don’t get soggy. Do try the dipping sauce – just a little gives the fish cakes a sweet-tangy bite.

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Brandon Barre

Learn about common Thai ingredients and how to use them.

8 cakes
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
45 min


  • 1 1/4 lb sea bass, rockfish 
or other mild white fish, boned and cut into 
1-inch chunks
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa 
(TRY: NOW Foods Living NOW Certified Organic Whole Grain Quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped 
red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, divided
  • 3 tsp minced lemongrass
  • 2 tsp finely minced 
lime leaf
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 3 1/2 tsp fish sauce, 
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 2 tbsp finely grated carrot
  • 2 tbsp date sugar
  • Leaves from 1 head red 
or green leaf lettuce, 
core removed
  • 2 tbsp safflower oil 
or coconut oil


  1. To a food processor, add fish and pulse until chopped. (NOTE: Your largest piece should be about ¼ inch with some of the fish being very finely chopped and almost pastelike.) Transfer to a large bowl and add egg, quinoa, bell pepper, 3 tbsp shallots, lemongrass, lime leaf, garlic, sriracha, 1½ tsp fish sauce and pepper. Stir thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Form into 8 cakes, each about 3½ to 4 inches in diameter. (Packing the mixture into a measuring cup or ice cream scoop will help to form the cakes.) Chill for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Combine remaining 1 tbsp shallots, vinegar, cucumber, carrot, sugar and remaining 2 tsp fish sauce and stir to dissolve the sugar. Arrange lettuce on a serving platter.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet on medium, heat oil. Working in batches, add fish cakes to pan and cook until golden brown on the outside and opaque white in center, about 3½ minutes per side. Arrange on platter with lettuce. To eat, wrap each cake in a lettuce leaf, drizzle with a little dipping sauce and eat taco-style.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1 cake with lettuce and sauce
  • Calories 131
  • Carbohydrate Content 10 g
  • Cholesterol Content 42 mg
  • Fat Content 5 g
  • Fiber Content 1 g
  • Protein Content 11 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 1 g
  • Sodium Content 250 mg
  • Sugar Content 6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 3 g

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