How to Make Fish Paste For Thai Fish Cakes From Scratch

My first try making fish paste from scratch was a bit of a disaster, but the thai fish cakes (tod mun pla) made with store-bought fish paste were such a big success that I wanted to try again to make my own fish paste from scratch. This time I used fresh (farmed) trout instead of frozen pangasius, and it was actually very easy! Compared to the store-bought fish paste, the texture was even better and the fish cakes held their shape after frying them (rather than collapsing a bit).

I urge you to try making your own thai fish cakes. They are so delicious! They were almost everyone’s favorite at the wine & Asian food evenings I recently organized. If you can’t find fish paste in an Asian store near you, then here is how to make your own very easily from fresh trout. The fullrecipe is here.

Start with a trout.

Fillet the trout, or let your fish monger do that for you. Roughly chop the fillets.

Put the trout fillet in a food processor and add 2 Tbsp of cold water and 1/2 tsp of salt for every 500 grams (1.1 lbs) of trout fillet.

Process for a minute or so.

Process until it becomes like a stiff mousse. You may need to add a bit more water and salt and process a bit longer. With the magimix food processor (which has a strong motor and a high speed) the trout turned into fish paste very easily. This actually was a lot easier than I feared after reading Miranti’s instructions.

Now add the curry paste and fish sauce.

And process some more to incorporate.

Add the kaffir lime leaf chiffonade and beans, and fold them in by hand. (I had no beans on hand, so made the fish cakes without.) Do you notice how stiff the fish paste is?

They kept their shape when I fried them. No ‘beard’ as happened with the fish paste made from pangasius.

The Thai sweet chilli dipping sauce with cucumber and peanuts made from scratch is what takes the fish cakes over the top.


Lamb-stuffed eggplant is a recipe I invented myself and that I keep making on a regular basis because it is so delicious and not hard at all to make. It just takes some time as you have to roast the eggplant first.


6 thoughts on “How to Make Fish Paste For Thai Fish Cakes From Scratch

  1. Coming on very late [hospitals have a habit of stopping one in the tracks 🙂 !] This is very helpful, ’cause the fish cakes really are worth the ‘trouble’. In my case I oft just chop and chop and chop some more – like the ‘lumpier’ consistency and have no trouble of keeping the mixture together.


      1. Bad chest infection! First in my lifetime and still as sick as a puppydog!! Great fun for my BD tomorrow 😦 !! And, yes, it does – must depend on the natural ‘stickyness’ of the fish used, I guess!!


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