The great thing about fishcakes is that their integral recipe and cooking is the same, but one can experiment with different fish and different spices or veg to get completely different flavours and a dish to suit many palates. Because sweet potato is a warm, flavoursome starch anyway, it pairs well with medium-heat chillies that don’t overpower the soothing flavours of the potato. Plus, sweet potato is filled with nutritional vitamins, so it can be perfect for young mouths that have a picky side. (I should know!)
Two Haddock fillets
One large red chilli of medium heat
One sweet potato
Plain flour (for dusting)
Pepper (and salt if desired) for seasoning
Cut the sweet potato into even-sized chunks of medium size. Bring a half-filled pot of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, cook the sweet potato chunks for about 2 – 4 minutes to soften them.
Rub the haddock (both sides) with pepper and/or salt and/or a light seasoning of your choice. Stronger spices like turmeric or cumin might add too many flavours to the fishcakes, so I kept from adding anything more.
Put the fish into a colander and cover with foil. I used pre-smoked haddock for an additional layer of flavour, but any haddock would work here. Turn the heat in the pot down and heat the fish over the sweet potato for 8 – 10 minutes or until both the fish and the potato are cooked. Once cooked, remove the fish from the colander and set them aside; and drain the potatoes in the colander, then return the potatoes to the pot and leave them to steam dry for a minute.
Mash the sweet potato in a bowl. Now some recipes encourage mashing around the sides of the bowl to help the mash cool, but I found that moving the potatoes and fish from bowl to bowl was enough to help it cool, so I could mash straight away.
Remove any skin from the fish and flake it into the mash. With a dash more pepper/chosen light seasoning, start to mix the fish and the potato together.
Dice the onion and the chilli, and fry together in a pan for about four minutes, or until the onion is browned and fragrant. Put the pan aside to cool. If the onions and chilli don’t cool, there is no issue but with the possibility of them being too hot to handle when hand-mixing/folding the fishcake mixtures.
Once cool or when ready, add the onions and the chilli into the bowl fishcake mixture. Crack an egg into the mixture. This acts as a binding agent for the fishcakes. I suspect it could be left out, particularly with the softness the sweet potato gives to the cakes, but you might be left with crumblier mixture. Then by hand mix the fishcake ingredients, making sure all ingredients are folded in. Have fun doing this. ;) You will get messy hands.
Mould the fishcakes into flattened spheres of about two cm thick. I dusted a plate with flour and dusted both sides of the fishcakes individually. I believe this helps the final browning, but is by no means necessary to the fishcakes. Transfer to an oiled frying pan to cook. For efficiency, I used the same pan in which I fried my onions earlier. Now I managed to fit all of my fishcakes in a medium-large sized frying pan. I didn’t plan for my mixture to make four, but since it did, I wanted to be able to fry them altogether to save me time. However, if you have the time, I wouldn’t recommend this, particular for thicker fishcakes, as it is difficult to flip them or check sides when the cakes are rubbing shoulders.
Cook until each side of the fishcakes are browned, and serve immediately on a bed of salad. Or wait until they are cool and freeze/refrigerate until later.