Serves 4 as a starter or as part of a shared banquet
300g redfish or other inexpensive white-fleshed fish, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 free-range egg
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 snake (yard-long) beans, cut into thin rounds
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
lime wedges, to serve
60ml coconut vinegar
55g caster (superfine) sugar
1 small cucumber
4 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
1 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1 long fresh red chilli, seeded and julienned
1 small handful coriander leaves
To make the cucumber relish, combine the coconut vinegar, sugar, sea salt and 80ml water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, check the seasoning and set aside to cool completely.
Halve the cucumber lengthways and use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds, then cut lengthways into thin slices. Stir the cucumber, shallots, ginger, chilli and coriander through the vinegar mixture and set aside.
Add the fish to a food processor with the curry paste, egg, fish sauce and sugar. Blend well, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Use your hands to scoop up the mixture and throw it back into the bowl several times until sticky; this is an important part of the process to give the fish cakes their texture. Incorporate the lime leaves and beans into the mixture. Mould the mixture into 5cm discs.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, ensuring the wok is stable, to 180°C or until a small cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the fish cakes in batches, turning once, for 4–5 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel and keep warm while you cook the remaining fish cakes.
Serve the fish cakes immediately with lime wedges and the cucumber relish on the side.