Spicy and seasoned (red curry paste) and fresh (lime leaf). These Thai vegan “fish” cookies of sweet potato, quinoa and string beans are at least as tasty as the fish version.

Spicy, seasoned (because of the red curry paste) and fresh (because of the lime leaf). These Thai vegan "fish cookies" of sweet potato, quinoa and string beans are at least as tasty as the fish version.

Thai “fish” cookies without fish

If you want to cook Asian you must have the necessary spices at home. In my “past life” I had a well-stocked restaurant kitchen. I now know that I have to be smart in buying and freezing my ingredients. That pays off!

One day when I was holding bowls of quinoa and orange sweet potato of the day before, I thought: Thai fish cookies. But without fish! I had the condiments for that: red curry paste, Thai chillies, fresh lime leaves, tamarind puree and coconut cream. All shelf life or frozen. The sweet potato and quinoa could thus serve as a delicious vegan fish substitute.

Ingredients spicy, seasoned curry paste and fresh lime leaf. These Thai vegan "fish cookies" of sweet potato, quinoa and string beans are at least as tasty as the fish version.

Texture of “fish cookies”

For authentic Thai fish cookies, blend the fish fillet together with the seasonings into a puree. Add the yard long beans (or string beans) last. The fish cookies are then (stir) fried in a lot of oil. They do not become crispy, the texture is rather rubbery. In Chinese cuisine we have a similar texture for a fish snack: fish balls, slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball. The more rubbery and the higher it bounces (as a matter of speaking), the more the fish ball is appreciated. My father’s secret for the right texture: smack the large ball of fish fillet frequently on the counter. Maybe soon I will be very carefully ask him if a Kitchenaid could take over that work.

For this vegetable version of the Thai fish cakes I do not go for rubbery, but for soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The thinly cut string beans, easier to obtain than yard long beans, give a light crunch. And these vegan “fish” cookies are not greasy either, you bake them in the oven.

“You can easily bake these Thai vegan “fish” cookies in the oven the day before and bake them crispy in the frying pan the next evening.”

Thai vegan "fish cookies" of sweet potato and quinoa

Taste of Thai vegan “fish” cookies


We use the same flavourings as with Thai fish cookies: spicy, salty red curry paste and lime leaf. In traditional fish cookies, a little sugar is used as sweetener, but with the sweet potatoes that is not necessary. The creamed coconut is optional, it provides a rounder taste.

Sometimes Thai basil is used in fish cakes. Unfortunately I didn’t have that at home. If you do have, chop a small handful of leaves and add them to the sweet potato mixture last.

The Thai cookies are tasty enough to eat without sauce. If you want, you can serve a sweet and sour chili sauce or the vegan alternative to the Vietnamese dip sauce.

“Serve the savoury Thai vegan cookies as an appetizer or at a Thai dinner with several dishes!”

Thai vegan "fish cookies" of sweet potato and quinoa close-up


Thai Vegan “Fish” Cookies Of Sweet Potato And Quinoa

Spicy, seasoned (because of the red curry paste) and fresh (because of the lime leaf). These Thai vegan “fish cookies” of sweet potato, quinoa and string beans taste just as tasteful as the version with fish.

  • Author: Kamwoj
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: side dish, starter
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Thai


A –  “fish” cookies:

  • 275 g sweet potato in cubes (about 1 medium potato)
  • 25 g creamed coconut
  • 15 g tamarind puree, optional *
  • 50 g red curry paste (to taste)
  • 4 g soy sauce
  • 1 small shallot, frittered
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp/ 12 g cornflour or tapioca flour
  • Salt, if the red curry you use is not salty enough


  • 100 g cooked (red, black or white) quinoa
  • 50 g cooked string beans, cut diagonally in thin strips
  • 3 small lime leaves
  • 2 spring onions, in rings
  • Small handful of Holy basil or Thai basil, optional


Cornflour or tapioca flour to shape the cookies


  • Coriander leaves
  • Thai chili sauce, ready-made or homemade
  • Slice of lime
  • Chili
  • Peanut
  • Raw food


  1. Boil the sweet potato cubes in a small layer (2 cm) of water in a small pan with a lid on it for 10 minutes. Pour the water out of the pan and steam dry for one minute on the lowest setting.
  2. Put all A-ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a pestle or ladle. Add the B-ingredients and mix well. Because the taste and amount of salt of red curry pastes can vary greatly, it is advisable to taste the mixture first. So fry a little in a small pan of oil or cook in the microwave. Add extra salt or soy sauce if necessary.
  3. Put the bowl in the fridge for one hour. I find it easier to form the cookies when the mixture is cold. If you do not have the time and/or patience, skip this step.
  4. Set the oven to 180 ˚C.
    Cover a baking tin with baking paper. Put some cornflour or tapioca flour on your hands. Divide the mixture into sixteen portions. Roll into balls and press them flat to discs of about 1 cm thick.
    Push a coriander leaf into the cookies for decoration if desired.
  5. When the oven is up to temperature, slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. If the top is not yet crispy and lightly browned, bake an extra 5 minutes.


The sour tamarind puree is available in jars at the shop. I usually buy a block of tamarind without seeds that I soak in a litre of hot water for a few hours. I then press that through a fine-meshed sieve and pour the puree into ice cube trays. The frozen cubes are stored in the freezer in a sealed bag.

Keywords: Thai, fish cakes, without fish, fishless, sweet potato, quinoa, spicy, gluten free, lactose free, vegan, healthy, sugar free, low in fat, healthy


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