Indian fish cakes (fish shami kabab) crispy outside, soft in the center, these richly flavored spicy patties are a terrific appetizer. Easy, healthier, low carb and made with salmon. Freezes beautifully!
What is Shami Kabab?
Shami kabab is a traditional patty from the Indian subcontinent. The kababs are prepared as little patties with cooked minced meat (beef or mutton), ground chickpeas, spices and often egg. These kababs are pretty popular and served as a snack or appetizer.
They are well known in Indian cuisine and some central Asian cuisines such as Persian and Afghan. Shami kababs are essentially part of the famous Mughlai cuisine of India, which is recognized for its central Asian influences.
Other yummy appetizers and snacks you may also like:
- Spicy meat and potato patties
- Vegetarian kotlet with eggplant
- Crispy potato edamame samosa rolls
- Easy Moroccan chicken pastilla
- Fatayer (middle eastern swiss chard pies)
Spicy Fish Cakes (Fish Shami Kabab)
For the recipe below, I deviate from convention and make the shami kababs with fish. They taste absolutely fantastic and are great for picky eaters who try to avoid fish.
I bet you have someone like that in your family and you can easily slide some fish into their diet with these spicy fish patties. Of course, pair these shallow fried patties with something light, like whole grain bread or plain rice and lots of veggies.
What to Serve with Indian Fish Cakes?
These Indian fish cakes (fish shami kababs) taste pretty good with mint chutney, sliced onion and some lemon juice sprinkled on them. They can be served with rice or Indian style flat bread (chapathi or paratha). But these no potato fish cakes would also work well in wraps and sandwiches with some sandwich spread, lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
Are Salmon Patties Healthy?
These spicy fish cakes are prepared with salmon as it is chunky, firm and flaky in texture. Salmon is a source of good quality protein and heart healthy unsaturated fats.
Specifically, salmon is a great source of the long chain omega 3 fatty acids. And is also a good source of other nutrients, such as B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, potassium and phosphorus.
Regular consumption of fatty fish such as salmon has been associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Salmon has less saturated fat content than other animals protein sources, such as beef or chicken. Therefore, intake of salmon is conducive to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Further, research studies have revealed beneficial effects of Salmon consumption on the brain and cognitive process. As such, it has been connected with a lower risk of depression, psychoses, dementia, cognitive deficits and ADHD.
Hence, inclusion of at least two servings of fatty fish per week as part of a healthy diet is highly recommended.
Tips for spicy fish cakes (Fish shami kabab)
- It is important to make a careful selection of fish to avoid harm from pollutants. A resource that provides excellent consumer guides is Seafood Watch. You may also checkout their app.
- When it comes to salmon, I would recommend choosing the wild caught fish. Canned fish can also come in handy. You may use the above resource to help you choose the right options.
- Other than salmon, you could try tuna for making the shami kabab. Tuna is also a chunky firm fish and would work well for these patties.
- When crumbling the fish, make sure to retain a coarse flaky texture and avoid blending it into a fine paste. Even if you were to use a food processor to combine the ingredients, be sure to just give a few short pulses so that the mixture is not ground up too fine.
- When using fresh salmon to make the spicy fish cakes, I prefer to steam it first, rather than sautéing. Otherwise the fish may become too dry.
- The fish cake (kabab) mixture should not be dry and crumbly, rather it should be moist but not too wet.
- You can use crushed corn flakes or coarse almonds instead of bread crumbs for gluten free fish cakes.
How to cook fish cakes from frozen?
- These spicy fish cakes (fish shami kababs) can also be frozen before frying or after frying. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. Just thaw them a few minutes and fry the patties or warm up the pre-cooked fish cakes in the oven or in a skillet.
Photography above: bijansviewfinder.com
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
- 2 lbs Salmon (or Tuna, canned or steamed, boneless)
- 1/2 cup onion grated
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour roasted
- 1/4 cup cilantro fresh, chopped
- 2 tbsps chili peppers (cayenne, jalapeno or serrano)
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp mint (dried or 2 tbsp fresh mint)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin ground
- 1 tsp coriander ground
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 eggs large
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup peanut oil* (some will be leftover after frying)
- Salt if needed
- Crumble the canned or steamed fish into smaller pieces. Add the grated onion, chickpea flour, cilantro, chili peppers, ginger garlic paste, chopped mint, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, red pepper flakes and one egg to the fish.
And mix it all up very well into a smooth and moldable mixture. Canned fish will have some added salt, so add more salt only if needed.
- Divide the fish cake mixture into 12 to 16 portions. Roll each portion and flatten into an oval disc. Keep the shaped patties (kababs) aside.
- Set up the items for breading the patties. Beat the egg. Spread the bread crumbs in a flat plate.
- Dip each salmon patty in the beaten egg and then dip it in the bread crumbs, making sure to coat all around in each step.
Press the patty gently to make sure the bread crumbs are nicely set on it. Keep the prepared fish cakes aside.
- The fish cakes may be shallow fried in two batches in a skillet that has enough room for six to eight patties.
- For each batch, heat 4 tablespoons oil in the skillet on medium high. Once the oil is hot enough, slide six to eight fish cakes and lower the heat to medium and shallow fry both sides for 2 to 3 minutes each until golden brown. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Serve these Indian fish cakes (shami kabab) in a platter with some onion and lime slices. May serve these as an appetizer, side dish, snack or they can be used to make sandwiches.
- Fry at optimum temperature and do not reuse the same oil, for minimal absorption of oil.
- The fish cakes can be breaded and frozen for up to 2 months, especially in freezers that do not form ice crystals on the patties (kababs). Prior to frying, thaw the patties.
- Alternatively they can be fried, wrapped in parchment paper and packed in freezer safe bags and frozen. Just thaw them and heat in a toaster oven, conventional oven or on a skillet.
- Roasted chickpea flour, ginger garlic paste, dried mint, garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander are available at Indian and Middle eastern grocery stores or online.
- May choose alternative oils for those with allergies.
- For more tips and serving suggestions check out the blog post above.
Serving Size: 1 fish cake (shami kabab)
Calories 138, Total Fat 7 g (Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat 3 g), Cholesterol 54 mg, Sodium* 87 mg, Potassium 247 mg, Phosphorus 178 mg, Total Carbohydrate 3 g, Dietary Fiber 1 g, Sugars 1 g, Protein 14 g
* Using fresh salmon and no added salt.