July 26, 2007

Tod Mun Pla

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These Thai fish cakes have been one of my favorite dishes since I first tasted them over 20 years ago at Flavours & Spices in Makati (which I learned from a friend had already ceased operation for several years now). When we try new Thai restaurants here and when we were living in Hong Kong, I check them out the moment the menu card is handed to us. If they're not on the menu, or if the server has never heard of them, then I consider the restaurant NOT authentic Thai. When we first came here in the US 15 years ago there were very few Thai restaurants, most of them didn't serve tod mun pla. We later learned almost all the Thai restaurants here in the Washington D. C. area at the time were owned by Chinese and their cooks were Chinese. There are several new Thai restaurants now that are owned by Thai people and some have these in their menu. I guess they are not popular with Americans because of their chewy texture which is precisely why I love them. The cakes are served as appetizer but I have them as main course, eaten with steamed rice and cucumbers with sweet and sour chili sauce.

Tod Mun Pla
1 pound fish paste
1 tablespoon Thai red chili paste
1 tablespoon fish extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sliced green beans
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, sliced thin (optional)
½ cup oil for frying
  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor for 1 minute, add egg and process for another minute. Add green beans and lime leaves, pulse 5 times or until just combined.
  • Heat oil in a skillet, fry about 2 tablespoons of fish mixture, flatten with spatula while frying. Flip and fry on other side until golden brown.

Cucumber Salad

2 mini cucumbers, sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 red chili, finely minced
½ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Combine vinegar, sugar and chili. Mix in the sliced cucumbers. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle peanuts on top.


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