Meen Vada


South Indian Fish Cakes

Ever had fish cakes? Of course you have and I bet you’ve had the stingy variety you know what I’m talking about, more potato cake than fish cake. Well here’s the real spiced McCoy, it was born in South India and known as Meen Vada…and here’s the good news there’s no potato to cheat you out of the experience. Great as a snack, street food nibble, refined starter, or party treat. The simple combination of ingredients sing when partnered with a citrus or sharp chutney and they articulate Indian authenticity, great spices used well to transform humble ingredients such as agnostic white fish e.g. coley, cod, haddock etc. Let’s face it unless you pimp these varieties of fish they’re pretty bland but they’re a good stand up act for bold spices.

This Indian fish cake recipe is a winner, I picked up the revelation whilst eating my way through Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, India and I have to be honest I’ve left a piece of my gastronomic soul to marinate in this corner of the Indian subcontinent. So ditch the potato version of the fish cake and taste the truth, this Meen Vada recipe is true enlightenment.

Meen vada recipe

How To Make Indian Fish Cakes

Makes 10+

  • 200g cod loin or boneless firm white fish e.g. coley
  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 green finger chilli,
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 stem of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • Salt to season
  • ½ lime juice

Apart from the lime juice pop everything into a blender and pulse until roughly minced. Decant into a bowl and squeeze in the lime juice. Smooth your palms with a little oil and tear off walnut sized chunks, shape into dumplings and then flatten into patties. Gloss a frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat until you can see the heat shimmer then turn down to low and pan roast for 3-4 minutes on each side until gently browned.

Serve with tamarind chutney

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