Cook the fish fillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large pot of water. Once the water starts boiling, let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Remove from heat, cool and separate the flesh from bones and skin if any. Dry the flesh on paper towels. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mash well. (Note1)
Prepare the vegetables and seasoning mix: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, saute the onions, minced ginger and garlic. After 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and saute until they are cooked and mushy. Add all the spices and 1 teaspoon salt and mix on low flame until you get an almost dry consistency. Turn off the heat.
Cool the mixture and add to the fish along with egg and cilantro. Dry-grind the oats coarsely (to the texture of breadcrumbs) and add to the mixture. Mix well.(Take a look at the step-by-step photos in the post above for reference.)
Shape the mixture into about 15 lime-sized balls and flatten them into rounds. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and shallow-fry the fish patties on medium heat, turning them over until you get a uniform golden brown tint.
Whip together all the ingredients and serve with the fish cakes.
If using canned fish, skip the first step of boiling the fish.
Ensure that the mixture for the fish cakes is firm. If not, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of oatmeal with a pinch of salt and pepper.
For this recipe, you don’t need much oil to fry the fish patties, since most of the ingredients are either already cooked or ones that cook fast.
Make-ahead option: The fish cake mixture can be frozen up to 3 weeks or refrigerated for about 2 days. Shape them into patties and freeze in air-tight containers. Thaw them before frying.
Who says the fish patties have to be round? You can use cookie cutters to make different shapes or make your own shapes by letting your imagination run wild. That makes it a perfect appetizer for kids' parties.