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Recipe
Thai Salmon Cakes
By Chef Maurice Boudreau

A sincere thank you to all who visited the Newfoundland Sportsman Expo this past March in Paradise and took in some of my cooking demonstrations. What a pleasure meeting and talking to all hands who stopped by. It was, by far, the best show yet in my opinion, and I’m already thinking about what we can cook for next year’s Outdoor Expo.

This is one dish I demonstrated, and just as I thought, it was a crowd-pleaser. Thai food is certainly not my fortè but trust me when I say, it’s easier than you think. The key to Thai food is creating a balance of flavour, specifically sour, salty, sweet and hot (spicy). My goal, for simplicity, was to sweeten the rice, have the cucumber salad spicy and sour, and season the salmon cakes using the fish sauce. This dish is packed with so much flavour and freshness, I guarantee you’ll make an extra trip to fill all your tags.

moeMaurice Boudreau is a Red Seal Chef currently lending his skill and creativity to The Hungry Heart Café on Rawlin’s Cross in St. John’s. The Café is a social enterprise initiative of Stella’s Circle. Maurice has a passion for local food that he is happy to share whenever he gets the opportunity.

For more on Stella’s Circle and the force that it is visit their website: http://stellascircle.ca

Salmon Cakes: (Serves 4)

1.5 lbs Salmon

½ cup Green onion, chopped

2 Eggs

½ cup Panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumb)

2 Limes, zest and juice

2 Tbls Ginger, grated

¼ cup Basil, chopped

¼ cup Cilantro, chopped

2 Tbls Chili paste, Sambal Oelek brand

3 Tbls Fish sauce

Coconut Rice:

2 cups Jasmine Rice, rinsed well

1 can Coconut milk

1 Tbls Sugar

1 tsp Salt

Water

Cucumber Salad:

1 lrg Cucumber, sliced thin

¼ cup Cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/4’s

½ or 1 Red thai chilies, de-seeded, sliced thin

¼ cup Peanuts, toasted and chopped

2 Tbls Mint, chopped

2 Tbls Fish sauce

2 Limes, juiced

2 Tbls Rice vinegar

1 Tbls Sugar

Method

Start by preparing the cucumber salad. You want to give the salad time to sit and pickle in the juices and let the heat leach out of the peppers. Words of advice – always use gloves when working with chili peppers and wash all utensils immediately after they’ve been prepared. These thai peppers are very spicy and should be handled with care.

To make the salad, combine the thin slice cucumber, chili pepper, mint, sugar and liquid ingredients. Toss together and let sit.

The tomatoes I cut in quarters separately and leave to drain. They will be added right before we serve the salad, along with the peanuts.

For the rice I recommend using a rice cooker as well as a good brand of rice. I used Lundberg brand and found it worked excellent. Following your rice cooker guidelines to prepare 2 cups of rice, I substituted half the water with coconut milk, stirred in the sugar and salt and turned it on. The beauty of using a rice cooker is set it and forget it. My batch took approximately 25 minutes.

The salmon cake mixture, once made, will not have a texture of our beloved salt fish cake, so don’t panic if it isn’t stiff enough to form into a cake; it shouldn’t be. It will be loose and easy to spoon into the pan. (More time for fishing and less time spent forming cakes. Bonus!)

Small dice the salmon and place in a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix. Then take half the salmon mixture and place in a food processor, pulsing a couple times for a slightly smoother mixture. This process, along with the eggs and crumbs, help bind the cake mixture together when it hits the pan. If you didn’t, then it would just fry up as small diced salmon.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add some canola oil. Once heated, spoon the mix in a couple batches around the pan, making free form salmon cakes. You will notice how quick these are to cook and will only need a minute or two before being flipped. If the mixture seems too runny, add more crumb to help stiffen it up.

So if you need a good excuse to get back on the river fishing this season, give this recipe a shot. If it works, your significant other may even encourage more fishing. Thankfully, my wife loves Thai food; lucky me. As a note to remember when making these recipes, it doesn’t have to be exactly as written; follow it as a guide, feel free to adjust it according to your personal taste. Increase or decrease amounts as you like for the flavours. Heck, depending on how much you increase the chilies, you can be sure you’ll knock some socks off!