Sarah Graham’s spicy prawn cakes with watercress pesto

Sarah Graham’s second cookbook is still all fun, but slightly more grown-up, as shown by this recipe for spicy prawn cakes, extracted from Smitten (published by Struik Lifestyle).

Serves: 6-8

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


300g sweet potato
250g shelled and deveined prawns
150g firm white fish
2 roughly chopped spring onions
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1–2 Tbsp (if needed) cake flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
50g rinsed fresh watercress
2 Tbsp pine nuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic
1 deseeded chilli
up to ½ tsp castor sugar
pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Boil the sweet potato in a saucepan of salted water until cooked through and easily pierced with a knife. Drain, peel, roughly mash and set aside to cool.
  2. Pat dry the prawns with paper towel and place in a food processor along with the fish, spring onions, herbs, chilli flakes, lime juice and zest, ginger and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper and process until roughly chopped. Add the cooled sweet potato mash and the egg and pulse until combined.
  3. Form the mixture into golf ball-sized patties and flatten slightly. If the mixture seems too wet, add a little flour 1 Tbsp at a time until you have a workable texture. Refrigerate the fish cakes in an airtight container.
  4. To make the pesto, blend all the ingredients for 2–3 minutes, and check seasoning.
  5. Just before you are ready to eat, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the fish cakes for 4–5 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel before serving with the pesto and a starch of your choice, such as crunchy potato wedges.

Note: The pesto will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Extracted from Smitten by Sarah Graham (Struik Lifestyle) smitten-cover

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