Going healthy: Sweet potato fish cakes and Japanese style slaw
New year means new resolutions. Not so much for me, but somehow the family has decided to embark on a healthier path, after a roller coaster last year. There are 4 of us, each having different reasons to alter our diet and lifestyle: Anne, 14, who has decided to kick her addiction to sugar and carbs; Marc, 20, who attends the gym regularly and is obsessed with protein intake; Mr T who endured a health scare a few months ago and has sworn off salt and sugar; then yours truly, who could lose a couple of kilos and love handles…
None of us like dieting, so we’ve always tried to eat relatively healthy, without restricting ourselves too much. My motto has always been “ everything in moderation “. And it worked for a while, but I must admit that over the last year or so we’ve been eating everything in excess and it is finally showing.
After our trip to Tasmania, I thought it would be a simple matter of reducing portion size and cut down on the cheese and cakes! It was Anne who asked if I could help her switch to a Paleo diet, as she wanted to go cold turkey and quit not only sugar and carbs, but also dairy. If ever there was a culinary challenge, this was it. Though, to be honest, as we are increasingly surrounded by family and friends turning either vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free eaters, nut avoiders…I had gotten used to adapt recipes to suit.
So we have settled on a Paleo-style diet, with Anne adhering strictly to a sugar added-free, dairy-free, carb-free diet. Mr T and I occasionally will sneak a sourdough sandwich or a piece of cheese in when the craving hits, while Marc will happily accept whatever is cooking and have burgers and burritos out with his friends.
So far so good, it’s only been a month but we’re all noticing how we don’t feel so bloated any longer and even fitting better in our clothes. I am sure results would be more visible if we took up exercising as well, but that’s another story…best left for a fitness blog.
Needless to say that there’s been a big shift in the kitchen: no more cakes, the only baking is limited to paleo bread and crackers ( a work in progress ). Our beloved morning fruit juices include quite a few vegetables while I am still acquiring a taste for smoothies. It is lucky we like fritters, salads, stir fries and grilled meats, since we cook a lot of them!
Like these sweet potato fish cakes with a Japanese style coleslaw. It’s inspired by a recipe I first saw in the latest Delicious magazine, and I liked the fact that it uses ingredients I always have on hand ( while we cut out white potatoes, sweet potatoes are ok once in a while ). I changed some of the salad veggies and added avocado cream for extra yumminess, also cooked an extra batch of fish cakes to have for lunch!
Sweet Potato Fish Cakes with Japanese style Slaw
This recipe reminds me of how I used to cook on the boat, when the boys wouId catch a fish on these ocean passages and I used to think of different ways to eat fish!
The fish cakes can be made in advance and stored frozen between sheets of baking paper. The dressing will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks in an airtight container, though it rarely lasts that long in our house as I love to use it in salads, steamed veggies or even cold chicken!
Serves 4 as a main
700g whole sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1 kg skinless fish fillets ( I used snapper ), boned and roughly cut
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
Olive oil, to shallow fry
1/4 white cabbage, shredded
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
A handful of baby spinach
1 avocado, cut into wedges
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 nori sheets, thinly sliced
Mint leaves, coriander leaves and pickled ginger to serve
2 tbsp tamari( gluten free soy ) sauce
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp pickled ginger juice
2 tsp sesame oil
1 lime, cut into wedges
- To make the fish cakes: preheat oven to 180C, roast sweet potatoes whole for 30mn or until tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh in a large bowl, mash with a fork or a potato masher and place the bowl on a bed of ice until completely cool ( you can also spread the mix onto a tray and freeze for 20 mm, but I had no space in my freezer )
- Place the fish and 1 tsp of salt in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the cooled sweet potatoes and the spring onion, pulse to combine. Shape the mixture into rounds the size of your palm, transfer to a tray and chill until you need them.
- To make the salad: toss the shredded cabbage, sliced red onion, baby spinach, sesame and pumpkin seeds, sliced nori sheets, herbs and pickled ginger in a large bowl. You can also add the avocado wedges then, I don’t because we have an avocado hater at our table so I serve it on the side.
- To make the dressing: whisk tamari, water, ginger juice and sesame oil in a small bowl until combined.
- When ready: heat 2 cm oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Cook the fish cakes in batches, 3mn on each side until cooked through. Remove with a spatula and drain on paper towel.
- Serve with salad, dressing, lime wedge and avocado cream alongside.