Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Curried Indian Fish Cakes with Potatoes & Peas--A Different Take on a Mark Bittman Dish

It's Potluck time again at I Heart Cooking Clubs and I am revisiting my potluck dish from last month--Mark Bittman's Cod Cakes with Ginger, Cilantro and Scallions. I kept thinking it would be fun to take Bittman's fish and mashed potato base and make an Indian-spiced version of my own. I used some local fish (ono to exact), curry powder and nigella seeds and then added some peas for color and to create a samosa feeling. I pan fried them for a crispy crust and a soft interior, and they were fabulous with a simple salad for a light dinner.

Curried Fish Cakes With Potatoes & Peas
adapted from Mark Bittman
(Yield 4 servings)

1 baking potato weighing about 1/2 pound
1 1/2 pounds fillet of cod or other mild, delicate white fish
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tsp nigella seeds
1 fresh or dried hot red chile, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup minced cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup peas
2 tsp peanut or other oil
Lime wedges

Boil potato in salted water to cover until it is tender but not mushy, 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the fish in a skillet that can later be covered. Add water to cover, salt the water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, turn off heat, and set a timer for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fish to a bowl.

When potato is done, peel it, mash it and mix in the curry powder, cayenne or chile and nigella seeds. Mix the potato with the fish. Add the cilantro and peas along with some of the salt and pepper to taste. Work the mixture with your hands until it is well blended and shape into 8 equal burger-shaped patties.

Preheat the broiler, and set the rack about 4 inches from heat source. Brush the patties on both sides with oil, then place on a non-stick baking sheet. Broil carefully, until nicely browned on top, then turn and brown on the other side. Sprinkle with more cilantro, and serve hot, with lime wedges.

For Pan-fried Fish Cakes: Increase the oil to 1/3 cup or more if necessary. Heat oil in a large skillet (the oil should be at a depth of about 1/16 inch) over medium-high heat. When it is hot (a pinch of the fish mixture will sizzle immediately), add the cakes. Cook, turning once, until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

Notes/Results: Delicious! Full of wonderful flavor and texture, these fish cakes worked on a lot of levels. Between the medium curry powder and the bit of cayenne, it had just enough kick. They were great for dinner and just as good warmed up the next morning for breakfast. I will definitely make these again as they are an easy fix when I am craving Indian curry.

You can check out the potluck creations of the other IHCC participants by going to the post here and following the links.


  1. sounds like a great deviation :)

  2. What a beautiful plate! So colorful, and I will definitely try those cakes.

  3. They look absolutely delicious! I love your salad too and your edible flower : )

  4. Sounds so fresh and yummy! I would love you to add it to my Whatcha Got Cooking Wednesday, Recipe Swap!
    You take the best pics of your food!!

  5. Love fish cakes and what a beautiful presentation.

  6. Very creative and pretty dish. Thanks for the potluck reminder too, I might be able to 'bring' something too ;)

  7. These sound excellent Deb! Especially if you ate them for breakfast! That means they were irresistible...

  8. Samosas - deconstructed. I love it!

  9. These look wonderful! I just love fish cakes and the curry makes them even better for me.

  10. I love that you made an Indian version of these. They look terrific, Deb! I bet they were very tasty indeed:)

  11. oh wow love these anything with curry powder has my attention Deb please email me your address again to send the tea


  12. This looks like a very interesting, refreshing and comforting dish. I've always like fried crusts, and mashed potatoes. This recipe combines many of those elements.

  13. Your plate is so beautiful and totally knocked the original out of the park!! Great recipe...I'm totally eating with my eyes right now ;D

  14. I've been craving curried things lately, and these little fish cakes look so good.

    First time I've seen nigella seeds in a recipe. Can you buy them in Honolulu? Or, online?

  15. Thanks everyone!

    MamaBird--whoops--I forgot to go by and check out your swap. Will try to do it now.

    Claudia--a friend gave me some Nigella seeds from Dean & Deluca but I have seen them here too--I think either the Indian Market or Whole Foods. They are fun for adding color and a little crunch and flavor to recipes.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)