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After a successful spearfishing trip around Kapiti Island, Kaelah James decided to experiment with a creative spin on the classic fish burger by incorporating traditional Thai flavours. As the weather starts warming up, fish is going to be on the menu in a lot of households around the country. This recipe is a great way to do something different with fish and can be easily adapted by changing the spice mix or using whatever you've got in the pantry.
Fresh is such a versatile food. You can fry it, smoke it, bake it in a pie, and squeeze lemon juice over it and eat it raw. But not many people think to mince fish. Mincing up fresh fish is a great way to use leftovers and, in this recipe, it can be used to create delicious fish burger patties. You can grab a kitchen mincer from most homeware stores. They can cost a bit, but if you're processing plenty of wild kai like me, it's definitely a worthwhile investment.
For this fish burger recipe, I minced up some butterfish I speared over the weekend and threw in some classic Thai flavours to give them a unique twist. To top it off, I've included pickled cucumber and a Japanese-style sesame slaw which complement the fish flavour. I just love the versatility of fish mince. You can use it for dumplings, patties, kebabs, the list goes on. Feel free to use any fish mince in this recipe.
4 fish fillets, minced
1 egg, whisked
1 red chilli
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
Bunch of coriander
1 cucumber cut into ribbons
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chilli oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Toasted burger buns
Bag of Japanese-style sesame slaw. You can usually find this, or something similar, pre-made in the salad section of your local supermarket
Bottle of satay sauce
Place red chilli, cumin, fish sauce, salt, sugar, garlic, ginger, spring onions and coriander into a processor and pulse until blended.
Add mixture to minced fish with egg and mix well.
With wet hands, form fish mix into 4 even shaped patties.
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, add patties and cook until golden brown on both sides.
Simply place cucumber ribbons and all other ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Put into fridge until you're ready to use them.
Mix the slaw with the dressing provided and it's good to go.
Assembling the Burger
Place Japanese-slaw on the base.
Then add the fish patty.
Add a generous amount of satay sauce, pickled cucumber and coriander on top.
These burgers are nice and filling so one is usually enough, especially if you're serving up a side of fries and salad. But if you've got a big appetite feel free to cook up a few more patties. They also last well in the fridge for a couple of days. Dig in and enjoy!
Kaelah James, aka Kaelah's Wild Kai Kitchen, is a New Zealand speafisher, huntress and incredible wild food cook. She's built up a following on Instagram by sharing her delicious recipes and she's now come on board as a Bushbuck ambassador and contributor to The Campfire blog. She will be sharing wild food and catch-and-cook recipes, as well as the stories behind hunting and gathering the kai.