Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 22, 2022
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India: Goan fish cakes

This is a great example of the confluence of Indian and Portuguese flavours that makes the cooking of Goa, on the southwestern coast of India, so special. These fish cakes are great as party food; they’ll leave people thirsty and fired up. Once cooked, they freeze well.

2 lb. (1 kg) white-fleshed fish fillets, chopped

1 lb. (500 g) waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 small onions, finely chopped

6 to 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh ginger, finely chopped

1-3 green chilies, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp. (15-30 ml) fresh turmeric finely chopped or 1-2 tsp. (5-10 ml) ground turmeric

1 tbsp. (15ml) coriander seeds, coarsely crushed

2 tsp. (10 ml) garam masala, or more to taste

3 c. (90 ml) fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp. (10 ml) salt

3-4 tbsp. (45-60 ml) all-purpose flour

2-3 eggs, lightly beaten

1½ c. (375 ml) bread crumbs

oil for shallow frying, such as canola

Combine the fish and potatoes and grind in a meat grinder. If you don’t have a grinder, grate the potatoes, finely chop the fish and then combine them. You could also use a food processor and pulse to a coarse mixture, but this tends to leave some of it mushy.

In a large bowl, combine the fish mixture, onions, garlic, ginger, chilies, turmeric, coriander seeds, garam masala, coriander and salt. (If you want a milder, more aromatic flavour, sauté the onions and garlic with the spices for 3 to 4 minutes before adding them to the fish mixture.) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.

Place the flour on a plate, the beaten eggs in a second, deeper plate and the bread crumbs in a third plate. Using your hands and a spoon, mold some of the fish mixture into a small ball, then roll it in the flour, dip it in the egg mixture and roll it in the bread crumbs. Set aside and continue until you have used up all the fish mixture.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish cakes and fry for 4 to 6 minutes, making sure they are browned on all sides. You might have to do this in batches so that you don’t crowd the skillet. Drain briefly on paper towels before serving. Serves 4 as a main course.

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