THE ULTIMATE FISH CAKES RECIPE | Sharon Henry
St Helena fish cakes consumed hot from the pan is one of life’s satisfying pleasures, especially after you’ve toiled in the kitchen for the past hour. Freshly cooked, these fish patties are impossible to resist eating with fingers – they’re totally divine.
Fish cakes have long been an island specialty, the quintessence of St Helena food. Made from fish and potato this culinary delight is a popular feature on eatery menus and the dinner table.
How To Make Fish Cakes For A Taste Of St Helena
They’re so popular no St Helena holiday is considered complete without trying the world’s best fish cakes ever! They come highly recommended.
Once you’re hooked you’ll probably want to learn how to make fish cakes for yourself. You don’t need Master Chef skills and by following our easy fish cake recipe, a little taste of St Helena can be created wherever you are in the world.
Tuna Fish Cakes Are The Best
St Helena food displays a ‘fusion’ of our British, Malay, African and Chinese heritage. Traditionally, ‘Saint’ dishes are simple and wholesome; nothing too showy and are quick and easy to make, using simple ingredients. Like plo, pumpkin fratters and bread ‘n’ dance.
As you might expect of an island community, fish is a diet staple; tuna, wahoo, bonita, mackerel, soldier, grouper (jack), conger eel and crayfish. Although, surprisingly, for an island community, fresh fish is not always easily available. We have a flagging fish industry and the Fish Shop in Jamestown quickly sells out of its main product; tuna. St Helenians (Saints) however, love fishing and it’s a popular hobby.
Making Homemade Fish Cakes ‘Like Mum Did’
Recently my mediocre cooking skills were called upon to meet a last minute deadline of a fishcake feature for our ‘Breeze’ e-magazine. I hadn’t made fishcakes for years, preferring to buy from the professionals. The request was to make them just ‘like Mum did’ back in the day; flat and crispy. Today’s preference is bigger and golden.
Out came the St Helena cook book and all the fish cake ingredients were diligently lined up, at the ready.
The St Helena Fish Cakes Recipe
Ingredients To Cook St Helena Fishcakes:
1lb (450g) fish – St Helena fish cakes are traditionally made of fresh tuna, wahoo or mackerel. Canned tuna fish cakes or even salmon would work if fresh fish is not an option, although they’ll require extra work to keep their shape.
1lb (450g) potatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 rashers of bacon, finely chopped (optional)
Chilli, finely chopped (optional)
Pinch of thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of mixed spice or nutmeg
Making Homemade Fish Cakes:
1. Boil potatoes in salted water until cooked, then drain and mash finely. Place into a large bowl and leave until cool.
2. Wash fish and shred or mince with a fork until very fine. This can also be done in a food processor. The finer you shred the fish and mash the potatoes, the fluffier the results. These fish cakes with mashed potatoes are to die for.
3. Heat oil and fry onion, until soft. Add parsley, thyme, chilli and bacon and fry onion until lightly browned.
4. Remove from heat and combine with the mashed potato. Add the minced fish, spices, garlic and beaten egg. Mix together well.
5. Using your hands, shape the mixture into patties roughly 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches round. Flatten slightly and dust with flour if necessary.
6. Fry the fish cakes in hot oil for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately. You might not have much choice!
This recipe yields approximately 12 fish cakes.
What To Serve With Fish Cakes
St Helena fish cakes are traditionally served as a main meal with rice, vegetables and a tomato and onion gravy. These fish fritters also make scrumptious sandwich fillers, on a roll with ketchup. And for those who prefer to eat healthy fish cakes a green salad is tops.
I like spicy fish cakes but opted out of adding chilli or ‘bite’ (Saint speak for hot) this time round, they taste just as yummy and a chilli sauce or flakes can be added later.
Thai Fish Cakes Vs St Helena Fish Cakes
I must mention. I tried a Thai fish cake in Chiang Mai once and even a Thai fish burger and call me biased – they don’t measure up to our St Helena fish cakes!
Pop these babies in the freezer uncooked, and you’ll have frozen fish cakes on hand for a quick meal. Handy when you’re rushed off your feet, after a long day at work or for those times when comfort food is required and you just want to taste a little bit of St Helena.
Not Just Fish Lovers
One last thing. Even those who claim not to like fish, will like/love St Helena fish cakes. They are just that good.