Pahut are fried fish patties filled with fragrant ingredients like lemongrass, coriander, and lime leaf amongst others. The flavour is unique and if you like Asian food, then this one is well worth checking out.
Since this is a bread channel, I decided to make a burger out of it. The bun is made with a quick preferment called a sponge. It makes the dough soft and fluffy without using much oil or butter. The preferment also adds to the flavour.
To make the pahut you will either need a pestle and mortar or a food processor. While the pestle and mortar is the classic way of making them a larger one suits this recipe best and I think most people in the West do not have that kind at home. A food processor would make light work of this.
When it comes to the ingredients, then you have two options: either make the lemongrass paste (kreung) from scratch or you can buy a ready-made one. The ingredients I used are more or less authentic. But you could just as well use other Asian curry pastes in your fish cakes as they go well with many flavours.
The salad is made up of a rainbow of delicious and fragrant veggies and leaves and the dressing with the fish sauce and lime juice brings it all together. This is a bit of a project, but well wort it. And the best part is that you can use all the leftover ingredients for another Asian food project as they could be just as well turned into a delicious curry.
Lastly, I made two giant burgers which were fun to eat but super impractical and messy, but that’s how I like them. If you want to be more civilized, then divide the dough into 4 and make 4 smaller burgers as there will be 4 fish patties either way.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the preferment (sponge) –
50g (1.75oz) strong white bread flour
2g (0.07oz) instant dry yeast or 2.4g (0.08oz) active dry yeast or 6g (0.21oz) fresh yeast
125g (4.4oz) water at around 22C (72F) if your kitchen is between 22 – 25C (72 – 77F) *
*To learn more about temperature control click here.
For the main dough –
150g (5.3oz) strong white bread flour
4g (0.14oz) salt
4g (0.14oz) sugar
7g (0.24oz) oil
For the lemongrass paste (kreung) –
20g (0.7oz) peeled and chopped lemongrass
10g (0.35oz) peeled and chopped galangal
2 lime leaves, sliced thinly
10g (0.35oz) fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
15g (0.5oz) garlic, chopped
50g (1.75oz) shallots, chopped
20g (0.7oz) coriander stalks, chopped
3g (0.1oz) salt
2g (0.07oz) black pepper
For the fish patties –
350g (12.3oz) diced white fish. I used cod fillet.
20g (0.7oz) chopped spring onions
20g (0.7oz) chopped long beans
All of the lemongrass paste.
40g (1.4oz) corn starch
Oil for frying the patties.
To build the burger –
*All sliced thinly
10g (0.35oz) Lime juice
10g (0.35oz) Oil
2g (0.07oz) Fish sauce
2g (0.07oz) Maggi liquid seasoning or soy sauce
- Make the preferment. Mix the water, yeast, and flour together until there is no dry flour left. Leave to ferment for 45 – 60 minutes or until light and bubbly. During this time chill down the rest of the flour. I placed my flour in the freezer until it was around 3C (37F). The reason being that the preferment will make up most of the final dough and as it will be at room temperature, we risk our dough getting too warm. Cooling down the flour will prevent that from happening. *To learn more about dough temperature when using a preferment click here.
- In a large bowl combine the preferment, salt, sugar, and oil. Mix well to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
- Tip the dough out on your table and knead for around 4 minutes. It is a small piece of dough, so it does not take long. *Desired dough temperature 25 – 26C (77 – 79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
- Cover and ferment for 30 minutes.
- Ferment for another 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 2 or 4 pieces depending on how messy you want to get. I would suggest 4. Lightly pre-shape into rounds.
- Rest for 15 minutes.
- Shape into tight balls.
- Place on a non-stick paper lined tray. Dust with some flour, cover and ferment for around 45 minutes or until almost doubled. *During this time preheat your oven to 210C (410F) fan off.
- Brush the buns with oil and score the surface. I used scissors, but you can use a sharp knife or a razor blade.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown all over. You can turn the tray half-way through the bake to get a nice and even crust.
- Brush the buns with more oil once they come out the oven. You can skip this step if you want them less fatty, but I went all out on this one making them shiny and rich.
- Leave to cool down for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the fish patties. Start by pounding the lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, lime leaf, salt, and pepper. We are starting with the toughest ingredients and using the salt to hep break them down. Pound the mix for around 5 minutes or until the ingredients become nice and small. Add the garlic, shallots, and coriander. Keep pounding for another 5 minutes. The finer the better. You can of course use a food processor instead.
- Take the paste out and continue by pounding the spring onions and beans, but they do not need to be very fine. If you have a large pestle and mortar, then you can simply pound everything together once you finish making the paste. I had to do it in batches because mine was not able to accommodate it all.
- Pound the fish until it is nice and fine. An important note on the fish! Make sure it is as dry as you can get it. I squeezed out the water from it after I had diced it and once more before pounding it up. If it is too wet, then your fishcakes will fall apart as they cook.
- Once everything has been pounded separately pound everything together in batches if need be.
- Lastly, add the corn starch and mix through. This will keep the mix together. If you feel that your mix is too loose, then you can add more starch to it.
- Divide the mix into 4 equal pieces. Shape into flat patties. Fry at 160C (320F) for around 3.5 – 4 minutes. Place the patties in the oil carefully as they may be fragile. Do not touch them for the first two minutes so they get a chance to set as they cook.
- Drain on kitchen paper once ready.
- Mix the salad ingredients with the dressing.
- Cut the buns in half, brush with some oil or butter and toast in a hot pan for around 1 minute or until golden.
- Assemble the burger. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the bun, add tomato slices, fish patty, hot sauce, salad, and close the lid. Enjoy!
This is a bit of a project, but once you break it down into parts it is quite simple. Check out some more Baking World Tour videos for other interesting and delicious recipes form all over the world.
Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.
Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.
Watch the video here