Simple pleasures

Jasmine-cured mackerel fishcakes


Fishcakes are a great way of either using up fish trimmings or making fish a bit more accesible for the children.

I’m a big fan of Thai fishcakes. Full of zingy flavours, and with their added prawn and no potato they are firm and can be roasted in a little oil or deep fried, as with the traditional British ones. When making the British kind, something that’s really important to me is not including too much potato and not making them too large.

This recipe is for fishcakes that are a bit special because they use mackerel that has been cured in sugar, salt and jasmine pearls. These are easily found in supermarkets in the tea section. The fishcakes have turmeric and spices in them to boost the flavour. Increase the quantity to suit your palate; I made these to be very child-friendly. Normally I prefer them with a bit more kick.

Serve with a cucumber and dill mayonnaise or some smoked paprika ketchup.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

4 fresh mackerel, filleted
4 tbsp of jasmine pearls
4 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp salt
4 medium floury potatoes
50g butter, melted
50ml milk
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
Salt and pepper to season
Flour for dusting

1. Place the fish on a large plate or tray and sprinkle over the jasmine, salt, sugar and a twist of pepper. Make sure all the skin and flesh is covered then wrap in clingfilm and leave to cure in the fridge for at least an hour.

2. Rinse and gently poach the fish in water for about five minutes then remove the skin, flake the fish and set aside to cool.

3. Cook the potatoes until soft and starting to fall apart when you prod them with a knife. Drain and leave to steam dry for a while then mash well with the butter and milk until creamy.

4. Mix together the fish, potato and remaining ingredients and shape into fishcakes.

5. Toss them in flour to dry them out and shallow-fry in vegetable oil (preferably rapeseed) until golden brown, flipping halfway through.

6. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the mayonnaise and ketchup and a beetroot and chicory salad.

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