Fleetian fusion: Thod mun (thai fish cakes) with Cape cod

Last night in the kitchen of a trim Commercial Street cape, Wellfleet met Bangkok. Surrounded by a well-kept garden and backed into a hill sloping down to Duck Creek, the kitchen was cluttered with foreign spices and the illegible packaging of Asian markets. A basil plant sat plucked bare atop the center table, and the stove spat a high blue flame.

Tiny white fish cakes hit the oil with a sputter. Rice paper wraps of spring greens, mint leaves, and cellophane noodles filled a shallow, black bowl. A dipping well of sweet mango chutney graced the table, and a puffy pastry festooned with kiwi and banana languished atop the corner hutch.

It was hardly the scene of a local feast. Crumbled peanuts had flown in from South America; the Mexican mango was just coming into season; and the sticky rice paper showcased an imported eastern market specialty. The main ingredient, however, was found locally.

The cod chopped and blended into the thod mun was straight from P-town or Chatham; wherever the day-boats had docked that morning. So local that it was hardly a moment from the sea, it nonetheless fused easily into a recipe with origins half a world away. It wasn't the base of the dish so much as the garnishes that bespoke far away harvests; with a few modifications, the Asian dish could easily be made Wellfleetian. Trade in the lime leaves for cilantro, swap the mango chutney for one of rhubarb or beach plum, serve aside a seasonal vegetable, and the transformation will be complete.


Serves 4-6

In a large mixing bowl, combine: just over 1 pound chopped cod or other local white fish, 1 egg, 1/2 cup finely sliced string beans (last year's pickled beans will do fine), 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and at least 1 tablespoon red curry paste (more to taste). Knead well by hand or blend in a food processor until sticky.

In a deep frying pan, boil 3 cups cooking oil. Form small cakes using 2 tablespoons of fish mixture, deep fry until golden brown. Serve hot with local fruit chutney.


TheList said...

with my mouth watering, i am anticipating many post pond swim feasts like this yet to come. We should start dreaming up menu plans- i'm thinking fish cakes of some sort are a must. te echo de menos demasiado. xx

tracy said...

Oh my dear-we love the blog, loved the dinner with you both and love the photo you shot before we devoured the thod mun. I'll look forward to being on my feet soon and testing some of your posted recipes and most of all seeing you again

Diary of a Locavore said...

Thank you for the recipe! Hope the knee is healing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.