Thai Spicy Vegan Fish Cake

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Today’s recipe is all about the hidden veg we have here, namely soybeans in the form of tofu, subsequently transformed into “fish” cakes.

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Tofu making is centuries old and originated in East Asia. Today, the bean curd blocks are staples in East and Southeast Asian cuisines, vegan cuisine, and my own kitchen for many reasons. It’s an excellent source of protein, and it soaks up flavor like nothing else. In addition, it comes in so many different varieties, silken, soft, firm, extra firm, etc., making it suitable for a whole range of different kinds of dishes.

Today’s recipe is made with extra firm tofu that has also been pressed to reduce its water content, making it even firmer. This is just one of many methods to achieve different textures when cooking with tofu.

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As mentioned, tofu will soak up any seasonings you add, and as we want some “fishy” flavor for our vegan fish cakes, we’re going to add some vegan fish sauce and crumbled nori sheet (seaweed sheet) to the marinade. Together with the red curry paste, this makes an excellent marinade for Thai-inspired vegan fish cakes. Vegan fish sauce can be substituted with light soy sauce; you’ll still get some “fishy” flavors from the seaweed.

I’ve added corn to the recipe for texture and sweetness, also inspired by these amazing corn fritters I used to have at my favorite Thai restaurant growing up, but traditional Thai fish cakes typically don’t include corn. This is like a vegan combination of two dishes I really enjoyed as a non-vegan.

For the dipping sauce, I like to make a vegan version of Nam Jim Seafood (น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด) / Thai Seafood Dipping Sauce. The only substitution I make is to use vegan fish sauce instead of regular fish sauce. Again, light soy sauce works great too. This dipping sauce can be used for so many other dishes as well; it has the perfect balance of spicy, savory, tangy, and of course, very garlicky!

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