Here is a fish cake recipe popular by Syrian Jews according to Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem .
With their sweet and slightly sharp sauce these fish cakes manage to capture much of their spirit of Sephardi food. They are delicate, almost brittle and thus very comforting. Perfect for family gatherings. The cakes are almost better the day after they are cooked; just remember to bring them back to room temperature or warm them up before serving. Serve with bulgar, rice, couscous or bread, alongside sautéed spinach or Swiss chard.
( Serves 4 )
- 3 slices white bread, crusts removed ( about 60g in total)
- 600g cod skinless and boneless ( can also use hake, halibut or pollock)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped ( about 150g in total)
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 30g flat-leaf parsley , finely chopped
- 30g coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 2 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 125mL white wine
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped
- salt and black pepper
- First make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan for which you have a lid and add the spices and onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is completely soft. Add the tomatoes, chilli, garlic, sugar, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until quite thick, taste to adjust the seasoning and set aside.
- While the sauce is cooking make the fish cakes. Place the bread in a food processor and blitz t form breadcrumbs. Chop up the fish very finely and place in a bowl along with the bread and everything else, apart from the oil. Mix together well and then, using your hands, shape the mixture into compact cakes that are about 2cm thick and 8cm wide. The mixture should make 8 cakes. If they are very soft, refrigerate for 30minutes to firm up. ( You can also add some dried breadcrumbs to the mix, though do this sparingly; the cakes need to be quite wet).
- Heat up half the oil in a frying pan and sear the cakes for 3 minutes on each side, so that they colour well on both sides. Add the remaining oil as you fry the cakes.
- Place the seared cakes gently, side by side, in the tomato sauce; you can squeeze them a bit so they all fit. Add just enough water to partially cover the cakes, about 200mL. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cakes to settle, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with mint.
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