Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tuna and celeriac cakes

Tuna and celeriac cakes

One of the things I absolutely cannot cook is fresh fish. It is far too delicate for me to use the cooking style to which I have become accustomed (i.e. throwing a few things in a pot and hoping for the best).

One of the things I absolutely can do, however, is open a tin of tuna.

We should all be eating fish at two to three times a week, for protection from stroke, Alzheimer's, some cancers, childhood asthma, and coronary heart disease*. Seeing as I was getting tired of tuna mayo on
toast, I was pretty thrilled to find this recipe from a very old Weigh-Less magazine. It requires barely any effort, it's perfect for taking to work the next day (no unfortunate odours emanating from your lunchbox), and I suspect it would be quite great for sneaking some fish into the kids' diet.

I was looking for a dinner that was quite low in energy at the time, so I substituted celeriac for potato. It has a similar rooty texture for fewer kilojoules; however has quite a strong celery taste (I know, it's so surprising) so if you're not a fan, rather stick to potatoes. I also used 2 egg whites while the original recipe called for 1 egg white and 1 whole egg, although I don't think this was entirely necessary as so little of the egg eventually gets eaten anyway.

*I should point out that the most beneficial of these are fatty fish, and tuna isn't the fattiest fish around, so try to eat a variety of fish every week.


Approximately 6 cakes/3 portions


Ingredients for tuna and celeriac cakes
  1. 1 x 180g tin of tuna in brine
  2. 1 x celeriac root (I know, its the ugliest vegetable I've seen in my life, but give the poor bugger a chance) OR 2 x potatoes
  3. 10mL lemon juice
  4. 5mL chopped parsley
  5. 1 egg white, 1 whole egg
  6. 60mL low fat milk
  7. 250mL bread crumbs (approximately)
  8. 45mL olive oil OR canola oil
  1. Chop the celeriac or potato in same-size chunks. There's not much you can do with the celeriac, as it is shaped like the head of a particularly unattractive gnome - just do your best to get uniform-ish pieces.
  2. Boil the celeriac/potato in salted water until soft.
  3. While it is boiling, drain the tuna well (trust me, you do not want soggy tuna in this) and add the lemon juice and chopped parsley. 
  4. I'm sure the starch won't be soft yet, so while you're waiting further, whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl and pour the crumbs into a separate, shallow bowl.
  5. When the starch is done, drain it well and leave to stand for 5 minutes to get rid of the excess steam. Then mash it and add it to the tuna mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add 15mL oil to a pan and heat over the stove (a medium heat works best).
  7. Form patty-like cakes with the mixture. Dip them first into the egg mixture and then into the crumbs.
  8. Add 2 cakes to the pan and fry on both sides until the crumbs turn golden brown.
  9. Repeat from step 6 until all the mixture is finished.
I had some baby marrows and cherry tomatoes floating around the fridge so I roasted them at 200°C for some colour.

Tuna and celeriac cakes served with roasted zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Tuna and celeriac cakes served with roasted zucchini and cherry tomatoes
The nutritional information is quite hard to figure out because not all the ingredients are completely eaten (the oil in the pan, the coating crumbs...).

Delicious and, once you get the hang of forming the cakes, super easy. What are your foolproof fish recipes?


  1. Tuna is problematic. So much of the tuna marketed globally has extremely high levels of mercury.

    1. That is so true, and can be a concern with pregnant women and children. Thank you for bringing it up. For my part, this is why I still eat tinned tuna:

      - Light tuna actually has low levels of mercury, whereas white/albacore tuna has nearly three times as much.
      - Tinned tuna has lower levels of mercury than fresh tuna
      - Most government food bodies (I don't know where you're from) advise that 2 tins a week is still safe, even for children and pregnant women.

      My approach is, everything in moderation, as always! If you still would rather not use tuna, try tinned salmon - as long as you get those fish servings in every week:)


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