Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thai Chickpea Cakes with Cucumber Relish

I am rediscovering my love of Thai food, now that I have more or less forgotten what fish sauce tastes like. I usually just end up chucking in a bunch of different sauces that I have in the fridge to get a more complex flavour: hoisin, vegetarian oyster, stir fry, soy, etc. This is a take on a fish cake--not so much a recreation of the texture and flavour, but more the spirit of the dish (whatever that means!). You can either fry or bake these. The baked version is a little dry, to be honest, by the relish moistens it right up.

Cucumber Relish
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cups diced cucumber

Chickpea Cakes
- 1 nori sheet
- 1 19oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp red curry paste, or to taste
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oil
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup frozen french cut beans, thawed

1. Heat vinegar, sugar and water over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add garlic, ginger, and shallots. When cool, add cucumber and mix well. Let marinate for as long as possible.

Chickpea Cakes (makes 12)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Rip up the nori sheet and place in a food processor with the blade attachment. Process on high speed until chopped into small pieces. Add chickpeas curry paste and pulse until chopped up but not like a paste (you're not making hummus here).
2. Dump chickpeas in a bowl, add sauces, oil, lime juice and mix well. Add cornstarch and mix well. Add beans and mix well.
3. Using wet hands, press mixture into a moistened 1/4 cup measure (don't fill it right up--more like 1/3 full. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining mixture.
4. Spray cakes lightly with oil and bake for 15 mins, or until golden--don't over bake or they will be dry. Serve with relish.
5. You can also fry them for about 3 mins per side in 350 degree vegetable oil.