8 cakes, 4 first-course servings

1 pound skinless haddock fillets, whiting, cod or any white firm-flesh fish (shrimp is another option)

¼ cup chopped scallions

2 tablespoons each, chopped: lemon grass, cilantro

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon each: fish sauce, Thai red curry paste

1½ teaspoon grated lime zest

1 teaspoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 egg

1 cup thinly sliced long beans or green beans

2 tablespoons oil

Zesty citrus sauce, see recipe

1. Cut fish into cubes. Place in a food processor or mini-chopper with scallions, lemon grass, cilantro, cornstarch, fish sauce, curry paste, lime zest and juice, sugar and egg. Pulse in short bursts until mixture is a smooth paste. Stir in long beans. Cover; refrigerate, one hour.

2. Roll mixture into eight balls, a little more than ¼ cup per ball. Press each ball flat to form a cake.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry cakes in batches until brown, two to three minutes per side. Add more oil to pan as needed. Drain cakes on paper towels.

4. Zesty citrus sauce: Combine in a bowl ¼ cup water; 2 tablespoons each: chopped fresh mint, lime juice and lemon juice; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar; 1 tablespoon fish sauce; 1 teaspoon each: grated lime zest, grated fresh ginger and sambal oelek chili paste. Let sit for one hour before serving.

Adapted by the Chicago Tribune from “The Flavour Principle” by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol.