Tag: snacks

Air Fryer Tofu

Air Fryer Tofu

This has really been my summer of Air Fryer experimentation. I know I’m late to the party but I’m making up for lost time, and I was especially thrilled with this Air Fryer Tofu. Perfectly golden and crispy, and glazed with a delectably sweet and read more

Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus

You know I love a veggie forward recipe, and this Edamame Hummus is a favorite!  It whips up in minutes, has a lovely green color, and a bright fresh flavor. It’s perfect for this sizzling weather most of us are having right now. Serve it read more

Turnip Cake

Turnip Cake

I’m a huge fan of savory pancakes for dinner. Much more so than I am pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast. And this recipe is one of my favorites. It’s my Japanese influenced take on a popular Chinese dim sum, Turnip Cake. No actual turnips, though. My version is loaded with daikon radish and Chinese sausage, and it’s so flavorful it doesn’t even need a dipping sauce.

turnip cake ingredients

Make the Turnip Cake Batter

I start by prepping the dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, and daikon radish. The dried shrimp add a pop of briny funk, and the Chinese sausage bring its characteristic smoky sweetness.

There are two main kinds of dried shrimp you will find at the Asian grocery stores. One is kind of like shrimp jerky: hard and kind of chewy. I use this type of dried shrimp frequently when I want a light shrimpy flavor but also that toothsome texture. But today we are using a different kind of dried shrimp. This dried shrimp is kind of papery and translucent. It’s mostly shell, there’s no real “meat” to it, and it has a deeper ocean flavor. If you’ve tried Asian shrimp chips before (my personal kryptonite), this is that flavor. I like to toast the shrimp for a couple of minutes which which gives the shrimp a more complex, less fishy scent.

If you can’t find Chinese sausage, you could sub with another smoked sausage, bacon, or ham and it would still be delicious. But the sausage is so good, it’s worth seeking out. We only use one link out of the package. But you can freeze the rest until you are ready to use it. It’s great in my Coconut Curry Noodles, grilled and served in tart Thai style salads, or even pan seared and served for breakfast with a couple of eggs.

fragrant turnip cake

sausage turnip cake

Combine the sausage, daikon, and shrimp in a large bowl. Add the minced scallions.

Once these ingredients are prepped, it’s time to make the turnip cake batter. I add all purpose flour and also some glutinous rice flour, also called mochi or sweet rice flour. It adds a fun chewy texture. The liquid in the daikon is enough to turn the flour into a thick batter.

Cook the Turnip Cake

I like to make one big turnip cake, and then cut it into wedges. That way it’s all cooked at once and ready to devour! We want this to get really nice and crispy, so it’s important to start with a hot pan. Heat it first, then add oil so that the oil doesn’t smoke and get bitter.

I like my turnip cake extra crispy, so I add a little sesame oil to the pan and then cook it for an extra minute or two on both sides.

Then all that’s left to do is cut this gorgeous baby into wedges and serve!

Get on the pancakes for dinner train, and give this deeply savory and crispy Turnip Cake a try! Let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below. And don’t forget to show off your creations by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you.



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recipe turnip feature

Turnip Cake

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 10 ounces daikon radish 
  • 4 Tablespoons (40 grams) glutinous rice flour
  • 4 Tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons dried baby shrimp (the translucent papery kind)
  • 1 link dried chinese sausage, about 2 ounces
  • 2 scallions minced
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil


  1. Place the baby shrimp in a small dry skillet and heat over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, tossing regularly. You should smell a deep oceany scent. Take off of the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Cut the sausage in half lengthwise and then into thin slices across to yield little half moon pieces. Set aside.
  3. Trim and peel the daikon. Next, grate the daikon into a bowl. You can use the extra fine setting on a mandoline or the small holes on a standard box grater. 
  4. Pour the grated daikon into a colander and let the excess juice drain off. Put the daikon back in the bowl.
  5. Add the glutinous rice flour, flour, salt, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, and scallion to the bowl and mix well with a spatula. 
  6. Heat a medium 10” non-stick skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and tilt the skillet to coat the pan.
  7. Scrape the daikon mixture into the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula and shape it into a round pancake about ¾” thick.
  8. Use the spatula to smooth the surface of the cake as well as all around the edge.
  9. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom has a nice browned color. 
  10. Use a flat spatula to loosen the cake and pick it up. Then carefully flip the cake over to the other side. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 3 minutes.
  11. Take off the lid and cook for another minute.
  12. Lift the pancake and add the sesame oil to the pan. Flip the pancake again and cook for another minute. I like the crust super crispy so I usually flip the pancake yet again and cook for another minute-cooking both sides of the pancake twice.
  13. Transfer the turnip cake to a cutting board. Cut it into 8 wedges like a pizza.
  14. Transfer the turnip cake to a serving plate and serve.



*This pancake is highly seasoned and does not need a sauce. However, you can serve it with a little chili paste if you like a little kick. 

*It is important to use the papery dried baby shrimp which are light and salty and not the dried baby shrimp that are like shrimp jerky. If you can only find the jerky style baby shrimp, soak them in warm water for 15-20 minutes, drain the water, and roughly chop them before adding them to the batter. 

*If you do not have any chinese sausage feel free to substitute Japanese style smoked sausages, bacon, ham, or even a small amount of kielbasa style sausages.

Keywords: mochi flour, savory pancakes, daikon radish, appetizers, snacks

Burdock Chips

Burdock Chips

Sometimes you just need a crispy, crunchy snack. Instead of reaching for some overly processed, sodium laden bag of chips, try making a batch of these Burdock Chips. The crunch you crave, with the added bonus of all the nutrition benefits of burdock root. Full read more

Matcha Chocolate Cashews

Matcha Chocolate Cashews

They say everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and I think this year I’ll get my bit of green from these Matcha Chocolate Cashews. Sweet and crunchy, this treat is made from three different Superfoods-chocolate, matcha powder, and heart healthy nuts. (You read more

Thai Fried Fish Cakes

Thai Fried Fish Cakes

Crispy, round, flavorful, fried snacks frequently eaten at festive gatherings….think of these little fish cakes as Thai latkes. Thai fried fish cakes are everywhere in Thailand, sold from street vendors and market stalls all over the coasts. Furthermore, fish cakes and fish balls are consumed throughout Asia as a snack, as a tasty side dish, or in dishes where they are used as a flavoring.

What Exactly Is A Fish Cake?

I suppose the closest American equivalent would be Maryland crab cakes, except they don’t have any breading or batter to distract from the briny seafood flavor. Fish cakes, patties, balls, etc. are a combination of ground fish, some starch, egg whites, and flavorings. Commercial products typically contain preservatives or stabilizers as well. The result is a bouncy, chewy ball of seafood goodness. Sounds amazing, right?

Thai fish cakes are a delicious celebration of the sea infused with aromatic Thai flavors. These cakes are usually deep fried, but my streamlined version achieves the same crispy goodness by panfrying, which is a lot less messy and allows you to call them “lightly fried” with a straight face. Flavored with kaffir lime leaves and red curry paste, and served with a sweet and tart dipping sauce, these fish cakes are jam packed with intensity and eating these is as close as I’m going to get to a Thai beach vacation this year.

thai fish cake ingredients


Let’s Get Cooking!

First Make the Dipping Sauce:

The sauce for Thai Fish Cakes is addictive, and super easy to make. The tamarind pulp adds a sweet-sour note, and the rice wine vinegar brings a mild tanginess. The sauce can be made a day or two ahead (just keep the cucumbers separate until you’re ready to serve), making this an ideal holiday party dish. To make it, first slice the cucumber into thin pieces, then cut the slices into matchsticks, and finally cut across the cucumber sticks to create a fine dice.

dicing cukes for thai fish cakes

Then finely mince the garlic, herbs, chilis, and shallots. Put the cucumbers, chilis, shallots, and chopped herbs into a bowl.

Next heat the tamarind pulp, sugar, rice wine vinegar, cornstarch, water, salt, minced garlic, and pepper in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook while stirring until the sauce thickens. Take it off the heat and allow the dipping sauce to come to room temperature. Stir in the shallot and cucumbers, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve the fish cakes. This sauce is pleasantly sweet and sour, but it’s not nearly as sweet as the bottled sauces commonly served with fish cakes. Feel free to adjust the sugar by adding more to suit your taste.

dipping sauce for fish cakes

And Now For the Cakes:

The first thing I do is whisk the egg whites into soft, foamy peaks and set aside. This will give the cakes a nice chewy but airy texture. You can either do this by hand or with a mixer.

egg white peaks


Then I thinly slice the green beans, and mix it with the minced garlic, salt, and sugar and set that aside as well.

Now it’s time to move on to the fish, the star of the show! I prefer a really mild, flaky white fish for these cakes. Inexpensive tilapia fillets work well here, as does snapper, which is what I used. More assertive or oily fishes like tuna or swordfish are not a good choice. First, slice the fish into strips and then cut the strips into large cubes.

cutting tilapia for thai fishcakes

Second, remove the stems from the kaffir lime leaves and chiffonade them, which is just a fancy way of saying roll up the leaves like a cigar and then slice them into thin ribbons. Then, in order to get the kaffir lime leaves very fine, I take my knife through it a couple of times to ensure extra small pieces.

kaffir lime leaves thai fishcakes

Skip Tradition On This One

Traditionally, the fish and seasonings are pounded by hand to make a smooth paste, but a food processor makes very quick work of it. Just add the fish chunks first and process until the fish is minced. I chose to leave the skin on because I like the chewy texture it adds. If you aren’t a fan of fish skin, feel free to use skinless filets, or remove it. (Make sure your fish has had the scales removed if you are leaving the skin on! No one is going to want to eat it otherwise.) Once the fish is finely minced, add in the rice flour, curry paste, and kaffir limes and process until it is a thick, smooth paste.

processing thai fried fish cakes


Shape the Cakes:

At this point, you will add the fish paste to the sliced green beans, and thoroughly mix. Finally, you want to gently fold in the egg whites.

To portion the mixture, use an ice cream scoop to measure out about 1/4 cup for each ball, and then shape them into a patty. (I find ice cream scoops to be the best, and least messy way, to portion out sticky batters and doughs. With this technique, each patty is the same size, and cooks for the same time.) Lay the fish cakes on a large plate or tray as you shape them. You can cover them and keep in the fridge for a couple hours until you are ready to fry.

thai fish cake fry

Finally, heat half of your oil. When it is shimmering and hot, gently lay about half your fish cakes down, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 3 minutes, and then flip and fry the other side for 2 minutes. They should be brown and crispy! Repeat with the remaining oil and fish cakes, and then serve piping hot with the dipping sauce!  Close your eyes and pretend you are relaxing on a gorgeous beach in Thailand.

thai fish cakes with dipping sauce

I can’t wait for you to try my Thai Fried Fish Cakes!  I know you are going to love their authentic flavor. Try pairing them with Ginger Saketinis for a fun, celebratory dinner or cocktail party.   If you make them, we want to hear all about it. Leave a comment, tag us @funkyasiankitchen on Instagram- show us the goods!

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thai fish cakes recipe card

Thai Fish Cakes

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen



For Fish Cakes:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cloves large garlic, minced
  • 6 green beans, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, hard stem on back removed
  • 1 lb tilapia, snapper, or other mild white fish cut into large chunks (do not use tuna, swordfish, or flounder)
  • 2 tablespoons canned red curry paste or use homemade
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour or cornstarch
  • 8 tablespoons oil for cooking

Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 serrano chilies finely minced (optional)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ¼ European cucumber


Make Fish Cakes:

  1. Beat the egg whites in a bowl with a whisk until foamy-like a soft peak meringue. In another large bowl combine the greens beans, garlic, salt, and sugar.
  2. Roll the leaves of the kaffir lime tightly like a cigarette and slice across as thinly as possible. 
  3. In a food processor, process the fish until it is coarsely chopped. Then add the rice flour, curry paste, and kaffir lime leaves and continue processing for 30 seconds to 1 minute until it is a smooth thick paste. Add it to the bowl of green beans. Mix everything together and then gently fold in the egg whites. (Mix 1/2 of the egg whites into the fish mixture first to lighten the base. Then add the rest of the egg whites, gently folding them into the mixture, keeping as much of the air as possible.)

Portion, Shape, and Fry:

  1. Portion the patties using either an ice cream scoop or a large spoon-about ¼ cup. Using your hands, shape the patties, dipping your hands lightly in water to keep the fish from sticking to your hands. Place the fish patties on a large plate or tray. (The mixture can be a little sticky, so you can first line your tray with plastic wrap to keep your paties from sticking to the tray.)
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Gently place 6-8 patties into the pan and cook for 3 mins. Flip them and cook for another 2 mins. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain off oil. Cook off the remaining patties the same way adding more oil as needed.
  4. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

For the Dipping Sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan combine tamarind pulp, sugar, rice wine vinegar, cornstarch, water, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  2. Stir the mixture and set the pot on medium high heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens 1-2 mins. 
  3. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
  4. While you are waiting for the sauce to cool down, slice the cucumber. Then stack the slices and cut it again into thin strips. Finally stack the cucumber strips and cut across them to create a fine dice. Put the diced cucumbers into a bowl.
  5. Add the serrano chilis, chopped shallots, and cilantro to the bowl of cucumbers.
  6. Pour the cooled sauce over the chopped veggies and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve fish cakes. Taste the sauce before serving and adjust seasoning as needed.


*The sauce can be made ahead and stored for a couple days in the fridge.  Prep and keep the cucumbers separate until you are closer to serving. Cucumbers give off a lot of water and will make your sauce diluted if added in too early.

*This sauce is tart-sweet. Add a teaspoon or more sugar as desired.