Got this recipe again from David Tanis’ One Good Dish book which, pleasingly, has many good dishes. I take delight in how he takes these many different cuisines and simply ascribes their English translations without using the original languages terms. If this is a copyright concession of some sort, all well and good, but we all know that food always seems to sound better when it sounds exotic and foreign. Croque Monsieur sounds elegant, but it is just a ham and cheese sandwich in the original French. Tod Mun Pla are Thai Fishcakes and it’s better than…er…Fishcakes in English, I guess.
Making these called for fresh scallops as Mr. Tanis deigned them lighter on the palate, but at $19.99/lb, and needing a pound, I opted for cubes of swordfish at $7.99/lb which more than adequately served. With the standard additions of kaffir limes (I had to substitute with lime zest), garlic, ginger, an egg, scallions, and cilantro, it was a pleasing mash in the food processor of white with speckled green.
He did insist on cooking them in a quarter inch of coconut oil, and I admit: the fragrance and flavor imparted to these quickly sautéed Fishcakes was enhanced greatly by its addition, but a pound of that ‘oil’ (solid at room temperature) was about $16, so its judicious use will be dictated in the future.
The dipping sauce was not surprising, with brown sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and toasted and unsalted peanuts. One dipping sauce was made sans the Thai bird shit peppers to assuage my wife’s need for non-spicy, while the other proved just hot enough to transform the sauce in very good ways.
Some quickly microwaved Trader Joe’s brown rice and a cucumber cut into half-moons served as a side garnish for a simple and tasty meal. The more I cook, the less inclined I am to eat out and fortunately my wife and I see eye to eye on that score. Were guests to come over and I was in a Thai state of mind, having some of these in the freezer uncooked but ready for frying wouldn’t be a bad thing,