This post was going to be about the spiced tuna and kumara patty recipe I’ve been making on and off for years. But when I got to the part about the benefits of eating tuna, a quick google search bombarded me with warnings of their high mercury levels. I wasn’t unaware of this fact, but equally I never really looked into it as we don’t really eat much tuna.
As it turns out, tuna has quite a significant amount of mercury in it, so much so, adults are advised to only eat it once a week – as that’s the level of mercury our bodies can handle. Doesn’t sounds very appetising does it.
So with that in mind I decided this recipe needed a redo. In the past I’ve also made these patties with salmon which works equally well, but it got me thinking about whether these fragrant little patties could be made entirely with plants.
Some further recipe testing this afternoon and a quick photo shoot later, turns out the answer is yes! And I think they might be even more delicious this way too.
I replaced the fish with soaked cashews, as soaking makes them much easier to digest, and pretty much followed the original recipe.
The reason I’ve been making versions of these patties for years is because they’re the kind of recipe that when it appears you don’t anything at all in the cupboards, with just a few pantry staples you’re able to whip up these amazing fragrant patties – as if by magic!
All you need is a some kumara (aka sweet potato) and some cashews, and from there you simply flavour them up with whatever herbs or spices or you have.
Sweet potatoes are abundant in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and are especially known for their carotenoids, beta-carotene and lycopene, which have some powerful anti-cancerous properties. Sweet potatoes are also phytoestrogenic which means they help remove unwanted environmental oestrogens, and they promote productive bacteria in the gut.
Cashews are a great source of magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese and phosphorus. Magnesium helps the proper growth and maintenance of bones, maintains normal nerve and muscle function and supports a healthy immune system. Copper plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes including iron utilization, elimination of free radicals, the production of melanin and development of bone and connective tissue.
I’ve tried out all sorts of combinations such as adding peas, spinach and onions, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. But I keep coming back to this Asian inspired combo of ginger, fresh coriander and parsley, chilli and spring onions. Of course feel free to adapt these patties according to your own tastes and whatever spiced or herbs you have available.
You can literally serve these spiced cashew and kumara patties on their own as they’re pretty much a full meal in themselves, but if you want to get fancy you can garnish them up with some fresh herbs, unsweetened coconut yoghurt and a sprinkle of almond dukkah (see recipe here). And if by some strange occurrence you have any leftover, they also make a fantastic lunch the next day. Enjoy!
Cashew Kumara Patties with Coriander, Ginger and Chilli
Prep time: 20 minutes Soak time: 2 to 4 hours Cook time: 40 minutes
1 large orange sweet potato (350 – 400g)
3 spring onions
3 sticks of celery
5cm piece ginger
2 red chillies (optional)
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh coriander
pink Himalayan salt + black pepper
3 Tbsp coconut, avocado or macadamia nut oil (for cooking)
If you’re in a hurry you can step this soaking step, otherwise place the cashews in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours then drain and rinse well. This can be done the night before then store them in a sealed container in the fridge. Rinse again before using.
Peel and chop the sweet potato into approximately 4cm chunks. Place the sweet potato in a small saucepan and cover with filtered water. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes until you can easily insert a knife into the sweet potato. Drain off the water and use a potato masher to mash the sweet potato until smooth.
Roughly chop the cashews and add to a large mixing bowl. Wash and finely chop the spring onions and celery, and add to the bowl. Grate in the fresh ginger, and finely chop the chillies (if using) and add to the bowl. Wash and roughly chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together until evenly mixed, then add the mashed sweet potato and fold together until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Shape large spoonfuls of mixture into patties and set on a tray. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a fry pan over medium heat, when hot add the patties to the pan, leaving enough room in between to easily flip them. Cook for several minutes until you can see the edges starting to brown then flip the patties to cook the other side. You’ll probably have to do two batches, adding more oil as needed.
To serve, place 5 patties on a plate and garnish with extra herbs, salad greens, or unsweetened coconut yoghurt and a sprinkle of almond dukkah (see recipe here). Any leftover patties can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you want to make the original recipe using tuna or salmon, simply swap the cashews with a 185g of either fish in spring water.