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Minimal effort, maximum taste: the best packed lunch recipes

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Thai Tuna Fishcakes

Thai Tuna Fishcakes

Home-made tuna fishcakes for under £1 a serving.

Healthy, filling & delicious; after making these tuna fishcakes once, you’ll never spend money on shop-bought ones again!

For someone who doesn’t eat much fish, I could eat these tuna fishcakes aaall the time! I don’t know if it’s the Thai-style flavours that I like most, the fact that they’re full of ingredients that are actually good for you, or the insane value-for-money you get when you make these at home versus anything you could buy in the shops.

I’ve only started eating fish in the last few years really. Since someone very kindly served me a beautiful plate of salmon at a dinner party and I was too polite to tell them I didn’t like it. So I just sat there and I ate it. And, you know what? Turns out that once I got past the “Ugh, this is fish, I don’t like fish” thoughts that were swirling round my brain, I really enjoyed it! There are still some things that I definitely can’t stomach yet (like mussels and oysters and smoked trout… bleurgh!) but since I’m now pretty receptive to most seafood, I’ve started to look for good ways to incorporate it into our packed lunches. These tuna fishcakes fit the bill perfectly. They keep well and they taste great cold, as well as hot.

Big shout out to “The Hungry Linguists” for this dish, because it’s become a firm favourite in our household. Unfortunately their food blog no longer appears to exist so it’s a good job you can find a version of the recipe here instead! (Their Instagram is still up & running though if you want to check that out.) I’ve just tweaked the original recipe slightly to edit out the egg and edit in some spring onions. The first because taking the egg out means that you can use fewer breadcrumbs and still get the right consistency (better nutritionally and cheaper, too). The second because spring onions add a nice punch of flavour alongside the chilli. Is there anything you would do differently when you make this?

We really like these tuna fishcakes with some simple greenery, like raw spinach, or with a portion of Green Rice Salad. Then there’s the sweet chilli sauce for dipping — that’s a must! (FYI, this Blue Dragon one is the bees knees!)

Prep time: 20 mins (plus 30 mins chilling time) | Cook time: 10 mins | Servings: 6
Cost? I paid £0.90 per serving – a little more with sauce & salad

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Full Instructions

Make the tuna fishcakes:

three 120g tins of tuna (drained); 300g potato (chopped into small cubes, skins on); 60g breadcrumbs; thumb-sized piece of ginger (finely chopped); 3 spring onions (finely sliced); 1 chilli (finely chopped); large handful coriander (finely chopped); 3 limes (juice of); 3 tsp fish sauce; salt & pepper

  1. Add the potato to a pan of boiling water and cook it until soft, before mashing with some salt & pepper for seasoning
  2. Put the tuna, mash potato, 40g of the breadcrumbs, ginger, spring onions, chilli, and coriander in a bowl
  3. Mix this all together with the lime juice, fish sauce and season well with salt & pepper
  4. Mould the mixture into 12 tuna fishcakes then coat lightly in the remaining 20g breadcrumbs
  5. Put in the fridge to firm up for at least half an hour

Cook the tuna fishcakes:

oil (any kind that suits you)

  1. Add a drizzle of oil to a large frying pan or skillet on a medium-high heat
  2. When hot, add the fishcakes and cook for about 5 minutes per side until golden brown — you may need to do this in batches if the pan isn’t large enough or add more oil if they are sticking
  3. When cooked & golden, remove the tuna fishcakes and leave them to cool (ideally on a wire rack so they don’t go soggy) before storing in an airtight container in the fridge

In the morning:

  1. Take 2 tuna fishcakes with you for an easy packed lunch
  2. Enjoy with some raw spinach or watercress, Green Rice Salad, and sweet chilli sauce for dipping

*hot option* you can pop the tuna fishcakes in the microwave for just 30 seconds to warm them through

Final thoughts from The Hungry Hungry Husband?

“An unconventional lunch that’s super tasty cold with sweet chilli sauce. “

The Hungry Hungry Husband - the hunt for the perfect packed lunch

Thai tuna fishcakes with spinach & sweet chilli sauce
Packed lunch: Thai tuna fishcakes, Green Rice Salad, spinach & sweet chilli sauce

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