Seared Tuna Cakes with Vietnamese Cucumber, Mint and Chilli Salad

An impressive dish from Alan Coxon - fried tuna cakes on a piquant Asian salad, topped with crispy parsnip laces
By Alan Coxon
Seared Tuna Cakes with Vietnamese Cucumber, Mint and Chilli Salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Effort: hard



  • 450 g fresh tuna
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped
  • grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemons
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 tbsp corn oil

For the parsnip laces:

  • 3 parsnips
  • groundnut oil, for deep-frying

For the salad:

  • juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Thai red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into small dice
  • 2 spring onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
  • handful of spinach leaves
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
  • 15 mint leaves, finely shredded
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch chives, roughly chopped


1. Mix the tuna with the capers, cayenne, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil.

2. Divide into four portions and form into cakes, using a cutter or circular mould.

3. Roll the tuna cakes in the sesame seeds until well coated. Cover and set aside.

4. Now prepare the parsnips laces. Using a channelling knife, carefully remove a long thin lace from around a peeled parsnip. Continue to do this until you have 12 long laces. Set aside.

5. Next make the salad. Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, honey and olive oil. Put the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

6. Heat the oil for the parsnip laces in a saucepan or deep-fryer to 190°C or until a cube of bread browns in 40 seconds. Fry the laces for 2 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

7. Now fry the tuna. Heat the groundnut and corn oils in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Add the tuna cakes and fry, turning once, until golden. If you like them rare, cook 1 1/2 - 2 minutes only. Drain on paper towels.

8. To serve, arrange some salad in the centre of each plate. Place a tuna cake on top. Garnish with the parsnip laces and serve at once.

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