Cooking for the Sensitive Gut

Thai fish cakes with a sweet and sour dipping sauce

These Thai fish cakes are packed with the flavours of South East Asia – fresh coriander, lime, ginger and fish sauce. These ingredients are soothing and fresh and can be tolerated by most people with a sensitive gut.

Fish cakes are made from the simplest of ingredients – minced fish, mashed potato, or breadcrumbs, and a little egg. The green leaves of salad onions add another layer of flavour to the fish cakes and are low in FODMAPs.

Tasty food is a great driver for eating a varied diet. Often when you don’t feel like eating much it is the wafting flavours of food cooking which stimulates the appetite and puts us in the mood for eating.

The South East Asian cuisines of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos are full of interesting dipping sauces to accompany fish, meat and vegetables. They are made from a trinity of flavours – usually lime juice (or tamarind), fermented fish sauce and sugar to which other flavours such as garlic and ginger are added. They do not usually contain oil.

Fermented fish sauce takes some getting used to. On its own it smells unfamiliar to the western palette. When it is combined with lime juice and sugar the flavour is transformed and most people like it very much. Fish sauce is low in FODMAPs and is another great way of getting flavour into foods such as stir fries and Thai fish curries.

The dipping sauce can be used as a salad dressing as well as an accompaniment to the fish cakes.

Thai fish cakes-10

Thai fish cakes with a sweet and sour dipping sauce

Serves 4


  • 200g fresh white fish such as hake or cod
  • bunch fresh coriander
  • zest and juice 2 limes
  • 15g fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 4 salad onions, green leaves only finely sliced
  • 1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs (this amount is low in FODMAPs. Use gluten free if preferred)
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • fresh mint and coriander to serve

For the dipping sauce

  • 1- 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (from above)
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chopped mint and coriander mixed together (from above)
  • a few drops of garlic oil (optional)


Put the fish in a food processor with half the coriander, the lime zest, ginger, 1 tbsp of the fish sauce, most of the green spring onion leaves, half of the beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Season well, then pulse until the mix comes together. Add more egg if you need to. Shape the mixture into 12 patties, put on a plate and chill for 15 minutes in the fridge or freezer.

Meanwhile make the dipping sauce by combining 1 tbsp sugar with the other ingredients. Taste and add more sugar if you need to. Stir a little chopped mint and coriander into the dipping sauce.

Heat 1cm oil in a large frying pan, then fry the fish cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Remove the fish cakes from the pan and blot excess fat with kitchen paper.

Serve the fish cakes with rice, the dipping sauce and some chopped coriander and mint.

Have you bought a copy of our book yet? It is packed full of ideas about how to cook and manage your diet if you have a sensitive gut. You can buy it from Amazon here

Cover for the book from Pavilion

If you would like more information and help with managing your IBS follow this link to the IBS Network

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.17.36

This entry was written by Joan Ransley and published on May 19, 2016 at 8:54 pm. It’s filed under Dinner, Snack, Starter, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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