Tod Mun Pla Recipe (Thai Fish Cakes)

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Tod mun pla recipe – savor irresistible Thai fish cakes crafted from a blend of tender fish, spicy red curry paste, egg, and simple ingredients. These snacks are as delicious as they are fun to make. Inspired by my mother’s authentic Thai cooking, this recipe was perfected in our former Thai restaurant, it’s a guaranteed crow-pleaser!

Thai fish cakes, Tod Mun Pla, frying to a golden brown in a pan of hot oil.

Looking for more authentic Thai appetizer recipes? Check out this crunchy hot and spicy pork rinds recipe, these easy Thai corn fritters, or this crispy Thai fried bananas recipe.

What are tod mun pla

Tod mun pla is a traditional Thai dish, consisting of deep-fried fish cakes blended with red curry paste, finely chopped long beans, and spices. The fish cakes are perfect as an appetizer or a snack throughout the day, with a balanced blend of savory, spicy, and slightly sweet flavors.

Thai fish cakes recipe

Thai-style seafood patties? Yes please! These are not your regular Western fish cakes, they’re on a whole other level of yum.

This is a delicious mix of fish, red curry paste, and traditional Thai ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and yard long beans. A quick dive into hot oil makes them perfectly crispy outside, yet oh-so-tender inside.

A Thai woman and a young girl smiling while cooking tod mun pla, Thai fish cakes, in a large wok outdoors.

Each bite is savory, loaded with refreshing Thai flavors and a cheeky spice hint. Totally OK for the kids!

Tod mun pla or tod man pla is the ultimate finger food for your next party, a light appetizer, a fishy lunch, or a great dinner – just add a scoop of rice. Super versatile!

Close-up of golden-brown Thai fish cakes, Tod Mun Pla, with visible herbs, ready to be enjoyed.

Pair them with a tod mun pla dipping sauce, like some store-bought chili sauce or by own Thai sweet chili sauce. Trust me, these are the snacks you can’t get enough of.

Tod mun pla with a side of sweet chili sauce.
Tod mun pla with a side of sweet chili sauce.

When I’m exploring food markets, my absolute favorite on-the-goes are moo ping and tod mun pla. Whether you’re in Bangkok, Phuket, or Chiang Mai, you can get them anywhere – Thailand is really a foodie’s paradise!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Versatile and fun to make: Whether you like using a mortar and pestle or prefer the speed of a food processor, this authentic tod mun pla recipe guarantees amazing flavor. It’s incredibly fun to make with the kids and your partner too!
  • Unique family recipe: This recipe was created by my mother, and she makes the best Thai snacks EVER! Everyone loves her spring rolls, chicken satay, chicken cakes, and Thai fish cakes!
  • Authentic Thai taste: This recipe for tod mun pla is a taste of traditional Thai cuisine. You can’t just have one, they’re irresistibly addictive!
  • Loved by everyone: This is a family-favorite snack, loved by even the littlest ones. It’s the perfect meal for the family; tasty, fun, and so delish.
  • Aromatic: As these fish cakes sizzle in the pan, they fill your kitchen with a delightful aroma.

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Top view of tod mun pla ingredients: Tapioca starch, pangasius fillets, red curry paste, white sugar, an egg, fish sauce, sliced kaffir lime leaves, sliced yard long beans, and flowers on a bamboo serving tray.
  • Fish – When choosing fish for these cakes, opt for tender varieties like basa, pangasius, or tilapia fish cakes for the best texture. I used frozen pangasius fillets, but remember, your choice of fish will influence both taste and texture.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – Essential for that authentic Thai flavor, kaffir lime leaves add a citrusy, fresh taste. Remove the central stem and choose either fresh or frozen leaves, available at Asian grocery stores.
  • Yard long beans – Also known as snake beans or Chinese long beans, they add a delightful crunch and freshness.
  • Tapioca starch – Tapioca starch, or tapioca flour, is crucial for binding the ingredients, ensuring the fish cakes maintain their shape while cooking.
  • Red curry paste – Red curry paste is a key ingredient in this recipe. To capture authentic Thai taste, make it from scratch with a mortar and pestle, blending traditional Thai ingredients like lemongrass, shrimp paste, galangal, and red chilies. I suggest using my homemade Thai red curry paste recipe, but if you’re short on time, high-quality brands like Maesri or Mae Ploy are great alternatives.
  • Fish sauce – This ingredient is a key factor in Thai cooking, adding depth and umami.
  • White sugar – A touch of sugar is important to balance the spiciness and saltiness, adding a subtle sweetness that rounds out the flavors.
  • Egg – Eggs serve as a binding agent, and they’re key for a tender texture.

Short recipe video

Step-by-step instructions

Use a granite mortar and pestle to mince the ingredients, or blend them into a fine paste with a food processor. Remember to add yard long beans and kaffir lime leaves afterward if using the processor. It’s easier to deep-fry with two people.

  1. Step-by-step preparation of Thai fish cake batter in mortar: 1) minced fish, 2) adding red curry paste, 3) forming patties, 4) mixing in yard long beans and kaffir lime leaves.

    1: Prepare the fish. Finely mince your chosen fish fillets into small pieces.

    2: Mix with curry paste. Combine the minced fish with red curry paste, ensuring it’s well mixed.

    3: Blend additional ingredients: Add tapioca starch, fish sauce, egg, and white sugar to the mixture. Pound these together until you achieve a smooth, fine paste. Check the texture by seeing if the paste sticks to an upside-down spoon. If the paste adheres to the spoon, the texture is ideal.

    4: Incorporate leaves and beans: Gently stir in sliced kaffir lime leaves and yard long beans.

  2. Chill the mixture: Place the mixture in an airtight container or a mixing bowl sealed with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or store for several days.

  3. Thai Tod Mun Pla cooking process: 1) scooping seasoned fish mixture, 2) shaping fish cakes by hand, 3) frying fish cakes in hot oil until golden brown, 4) draining cooked fish cakes on wire rack

    1: Prepare for frying. Heat a generous amount of oil in a large wok over medium heat. Keep a bowl of water handy to prevent the batter from sticking to your hands.

    2: Form patties. Shape the mixture into individual patties using a spoon and your hand.

    3: Fry the patties. Carefully place the patties in the hot oil, either directly or by sliding them off the edge of the pan. Use a kitchen tool to gently flip them until both sides are golden brown. Fry in small batches to avoid overcrowding.

    4: Drain and Serve. After frying, remove the patties from the oil and let them drain in a colander. Serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Kitchen tools

  • Granite mortar and pestle or food processor
  • Large wok for frying
  • Spider strainer
  • Mixing bowls

How to serve fish cakes

How to store and reheat

Once cooked, allow your tod mun pla cakes to cool down before storing them in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to three days. For reheating, simply pan-fry or deep-fry until warm.

Frequently asked questions

How to get Thai fish cakes firmer consistency?

Make sure to really mince or blend the fish mix until it’s nice and even. Don’t forget to add tapioca starch and an egg – they’re like the glue that keeps everything together. Also, a quick chill in the fridge after you’ve shaped them firms them right up!

Can I make this in advance?

The fish cake mixture can be made in advance, and you can store it in your refrigerator until ready to cook. I stored mine for 3 days until I was ready to deep-fry it.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, if you ensure your fish sauce and red curry paste brand are gluten-free (some brands may contain gluten).

More Thai fish recipes you’ll love

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Prep Time 25 min Cook Time 25 min Rest Time 30 min Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 15 Calories: 77

Description

This authentic recipe makes restaurant quality Thai fish cakes or tod mun pla.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the batter

    1: Prepare the fish. Finely mince your chosen fish fillets into small pieces.
    2: Mix with curry paste. Combine the minced fish with red curry paste, ensuring it's well mixed.
    3: Blend additional ingredients: Add tapioca starch, fish sauce, egg, and white sugar to the mixture. Pound these together until you achieve a smooth, fine paste. Check the texture by seeing if the paste sticks to an upside-down spoon. If the paste adheres to the spoon, the texture is ideal
    4: Incorporate leaves and beans: Gently stir in sliced kaffir lime leaves and yard long beans.

  2. Chill

    Chill the mixture: Place the mixture in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or store for several days.

  3. Fry

    1: Prepare for frying. Heat a generous amount of oil in a large wok over medium heat. Keep a bowl of water handy to prevent the batter from sticking to your hands.
    2: Form patties. Shape the mixture into individual patties using a spoon and your hand.
    3: Fry the patties. Carefully place the patties in the hot oil, either directly or by sliding them off the edge of the pan. Use a kitchen tool to gently flip them until both sides are golden brown. Fry in small batches to avoid overcrowding.
    4: Drain and Serve. After frying, remove the patties from the oil and let them drain in a colander. Serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Tools you need

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Nutrition Facts

Servings 15


Amount Per Serving
Calories 77kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3.4g6%
Saturated Fat 0.7g4%
Total Carbohydrate 2g1%
Sugars 0.5g
Protein 8.8g18%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Thai fish cakes are best served with a sweet chili sauce. Serve on their own or with white rice, or pair with one of my other side-dishes.
Keywords: tod mun pla, tod mun pla recipe, Thai fish cakes
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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