Cod cakes in tomato sauce with crunchy okra

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I’d initially marked this recipe in my beloved Jerusalem book many moons ago. It sounded kind of safe, easy and delicious – but really the reason I haven’t made it until now is lack of good quality fish in our local supermarkets. The fish needs to be good and meaty because there’s aren’t fish cakes in the traditional British sense – there’s no potato to bulk them out. This is pure fish and my god are they better for it!

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The accompaniment of crispy okra was inspired by a post I saw on Instagram somewhere (my new obsession!) and I thought it was really quite a nice change. A great way to cook okra, which can be a bit tricky to get right. You could of course go to town with these a bit and add all sorts of spices to the semolina dust, but I kept it super simple. Nice!

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You will need:

For the cod cakes

300g line caught cod fillets, very finely chopped up
1 tspn ground cumin
Handful chopped parsley
Handful chopped coriander
1 small white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large free range egg
Salt, pepper
4 tbspns or so of breadcrumbs
Olive oil, to fry
Sliced mint, to garnish

For the tomato sauce

1 white onion, diced
1 tbspn ground cumin
1/2 tbspn ground coriander
1/2 tbspn paprika
1 tbspn ground caraway seeds
400g tinned plum tomatoes
1 crushed garlic clove
1 finely chopped red chilli
200ml white wine
2 tbspns capers
Punch of sugar
200ml water

For the okra

Okra (around 30 okras)
Milk, to dip (around 300ml)
Semolina, to coat (around 5 tbspns)
Sunflower oil, to fry
Salt

Method:

1 – Start by making the tomato sauce. Heat a 2 tbspns olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions and spices. Fry for 8 minutes or so until softened
2 – Tip in the wine and allow to reduce for a few minutes, then stir in the garlic, chilli, tomatoes, capers and sugar
3 – Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes while you get on with the cakes. Mix together the finely chopped fish with the herbs, seasoning, egg, garlic and onion.
4 – Bring the fish mix together to form 4 cakes, then pat/roll in the breadcrumbs – they will only provide a loose coating but that’s what you want (the aim isn’t to produce breadcrumbed cakes but just to encourage a little crunch)
5 – Heat some olive oil in another frying pan and brown the cod cakes on both sides. While you’re doing this, add the water to the tomato sauce and stir, then add the browned cod cakes to the tomato sauce. Cover and leave to steam/simmer for 15 minutes while your prepare the okra
6 – Pour the milk and semolina into two separate bowls and cut the stalk ends off the okra. One by one dip the okra in the milk then roll to coat in the semolina and set onto a tray.
7 – Heat enough sunflower oil in a frying pan to coat the pan with 1-2cm of oil and when it’s hot (ie a tester pinch of semolina sizzles instantly) add the okra carefully. Fry until golden on all sides and then remove from the oil with a slotted spoon.
8 – Drain the okra on kitchen paper and season them with salt. Dish up your saucy cod cakes which should now be cooked through. Serve with the okra on the side and mint scattered on top.

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8 thoughts on “Cod cakes in tomato sauce with crunchy okra

  1. I’ve missed so much goodness from you! I could sit here all day but I’ve now got a 10 minute window of winter sunshine so I am going out…! Definitely need to sit down with a glass of wine tonight and salivate over the rest of this goodness. You’re amazing Becky, seriously! x

    1. Haha, I need to do some serious blog catching up. Been so damn busy lately. Little time to cook. Less time to blog. No time to read. But today is the day! I have a small window :-)
      Glad you’re liking the posts, think we’re often on the same food wave my dear! Xx

      1. I know what you mean, it’s difficult trying to prioritise time. I always think that when Aaron is home, I shouldn’t just curl up in my little blogging corner with a laptop… but the rest of the time I’m at work, so.. ah, balance. And yes, I do think we’re on the same food wave rather often. Unfortunately it’s getting ridiculously dark at 4.30pm these days so I haven’t posted most of my recent cooking but I made some stuffed aubergine (Ottolenghi style) the other day which was divine! Also testing out my pasta machine, I still need to try your saffron recipe. It’s on my list! xx

      2. Same here. I also often feel like sitting in front of another screen is not the best way to spend an evening, as that’s pretty much how I spend all day everyday at work. Your wintery food sounds lovely, would love to see your pasta results! It’s not great when the light goes so early though, I never feel much like posting dinners eaten in the dark light. Xx

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