Salmon or Tuna Paneer Cakes

I happened upon a review of Bal Arneson’s first cookbook, Everyday Indian, on the Vancouver Sun website one day and asked for the book that Christmas. It’s been a frequently used, lots-of-pages-turned-down reference ever since. Check out Ms. Arneson’s website:

Her recipe for Salmon Paneer Cakes, found in Everyday Indian, is one of our favorites. It’s quick and easy and even our picky eaters love it. I make these cakes more often with canned tuna than with salmon but both are delicious.

This recipe opened my eyes to the binding abilities of chickpea, or garbanzo bean, flour. There are no eggs used to keep these cakes together. Chickpea flour performs that task here. I’ve since added chickpea flour to gluten free baked goods, such as the Chocolate Chip Biscotti recipe you will find under the Pastries and Desserts tab. It adds a nice nutty flavor and a bit more protein while it helps to bind the ingredients and cut down on the crumbliness of gluten free baked goods.

I always make this with all of the spices called for in the main recipe and those in the NOTE below. Ms. Arneson’s recipes for the masalas, or spice mixtures, are superior to those you will find in stores, but most purchased masalas are good.

A neat trick I employ to keep fresh ginger in good shape – freeze the whole ginger root in a plastic bag or glass jar. You won’t end up with a dried-up root, which can happen when it’s left on the counter and it won’t mold like it does when left too long in the refrigerator. Frozen ginger is also easy to grate. I use a micro-plane grater but in a pinch the big holes on a regular box grater works almost as well. It’s easier and more consistent in size than chopping it.

We enjoy these plain or with Spicy Apricot Chutney. I posted this recipe on June 18, 2018.

Here is the original recipe with my changes in italics.

Makes about 22 1-inch patties

1  6 oz. can salmon, drained and liquid squeezed out (or canned tuna – I use a sharp knife and cut across the grain of the fish while it’s still in the can to make the pieces smaller and easier to mix)

¾ cup paneer cheese, grated (I use either feta or or Queso Fresca, both of which are saltier than paneer – cut down on the salt if you use these)

¼ cup low-fat plain yogurt (I use organic whole milk plain yogurt from Trader Joe’s)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion (I use 2 Tbsp., and white or yellow onions work if you don’t have red)

¼ cup chickpea flour

1 tsp. Garam Masala (recipe for your own in the book or purchase at an Indian grocery)

½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (Coconut oil works well, too.)


Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and mix until the flour is evenly distributed.  Make small cakes (1-inch patties). Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet (I use my well-seasoned cast iron) over medium heat and pan fry the patties on both sides until golden brown.

NOTE: Adding 1 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, 1 tsp. Chana Masala (recipe in the book or use store bought), and 1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger gives an enticing aroma to the cakes. You can also sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the cakes just before serving to brighten all the flavours.

Salmon cakes in pan

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