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Spicy Thai Tuna Fish Cakes

These Thai tuna fish cakes hit all the right flavour sensations, hot, sour, sweet & salty and they come with a delicious easy dipping sauce.

All told these spicy Thai fish cakes take under 40 minutes to go from the cupboard to being ready to eat and can be prepared a couple of days in advance.

Portrait close up image of spicy Thai tuna fish cakes served with a cucumber and peanut salad

Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes with Dipping Sauce.

I adore fish cakes, even growing up I loved those mushy things that they served with school dinners.

I have brought this love into my more “grown up” style of cooking with my canned mackerel fish cakes and sardine and salmon fish cakes.

My new offering on the fish cake front adds the spice that I love courtesy of the flavours of Thailand.

They pack a mighty punch something that would have been unheard of in the school dinner queue when I was a child.

As for the dipping sauce, make sure you repurpose it next time you make spring rolls!

You can serve them warm and at room temperature. They do need to cool a little before serving, they are very soft when hot.

Portrait overhead image of spicy Thai tuna fish cakes served with a cucumber and peanut salad and a dipping sauce.

Ingredient Advice.

Besides buying the best tuna that you can afford you need to buy tuna in brine or spring water for this recipe.

Usually my canned tuna recipes, like this tomato tuna pasta recipe call for tuna in oil, but that does not work so well here.

But it makes these Thai fish cakes very rich and almost slimy. Not a texture I am fond of!

Next up are the potatoes. You want a floury or mealy variety like King Edwards or Russets.

As for the chilli then I have no advice here! Use your understanding of your tolerance levels and add chilli that you like to these Thai fish cakes.

Thai Birds Eye Chillis are fiercely hot, use them with care. They are closer to habanero chillies than they are to jalapeno!

Tolerance to spice is incredibly personal. One persons mild tingle is another raging volcano.

Portrait image of spicy Thai tuna fish cakes served with a cucumber and peanut salad

Serving Suggestions.

This dish is meant as either a light meal or snack. Although they do also work really well as a party snacks!

In fact the idea behind these spicy Thai tuna fish cakes came from the ones served at buffet lunches at my office when I had a proper grown up job!

I like to serve this with some toasted peanuts and sliced cucumber. I dress it with some sesame oil and add some of the leftover chilli.

It is spectacularly good with my cucumber salad which features in the video for this recipe!

It also works really well with pickles, which are great at tempering spice.

Something like pickled daikon or pickled cucumber would work really well.

If you wanted to turn these into a complete meal then something like this Thai noodle salad would be the perfect side.

Square image of spicy Thai tuna fish cakes served with a cucumber and peanut salad
Yield: 2 Servings

Thai Tuna Fish Cakes Recipe with a Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Canned tuna forms the foundation of these Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes leaning heavily on Thai flavours and they make a perfect light meal or snack.


For the Fish Cakes

  • 250 g (1 2/3 Cup) Potato
  • 160 g (5.5oz) Tin of Tuna in Water or Brine
  • 1 Thai Birds Eye Chilli Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Grass Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 2 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 50 g (1/3 Cup) Spring Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 30 g (1/3 Cup) Breadcrumbs

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Thai Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp Dar Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Thai Birds Eye Chilli Pepper
  • 1/2 Spring Onion


For the Fish Cakes:

  1. Peel and cut the potato into a 1cm dice.
  2. Cook the potato in a pan of well-salted water until soft, this should take 10 minutes, then cool.
  3. Slice the chilli pepper as finely as you can and remove the seeds if you want.
  4. Slice the spring onion as finely as you can.
  5. Grate the ginger.
  6. Finely shred the kaffir lime leaves.
  7. Mash the potatoes and add the remaining ingredients for the fish cakes.
  8. Form into balls a little smaller than the size of golf balls,
  9. Lightly press these balls to form a small tuna patty.
  10. Heat 1/2-1 cm of oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the cakes until crisp and golden.
  11. Drain on kitchen towel and allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.

For the Dipping Sauce:

  1. Slice the chilli pepper and spring onion as finely as you can.
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce.
  3. Taste and balance the seasoning to your liking.


If you are using dried kaffir lime leaves, rehydrate them in the boiling potato water for two minutes before shredding.

You can sub the lemongrass paste with fresh, simply remove the tough outer leaves, bruise with the side of a knife and finely shred.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 385Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 2402mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 4gSugar: 15gProtein: 34g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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