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Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

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4.96 from 22 votes
55 minutes

Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy – Ginger Dipping Sauce are crispy, delicious and packed with flavor!  They can be made with pantry items you probably already have on hand!

Photo of Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce on black plate with arugula and dipping sauce.

Got tuna?  Canned tuna is something most of us always have on hand.  Given the rise in the popularity of Korean food and the kimchi craze, you probably have that too!

Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy – Ginger Dipping Sauce is a delicious, freezer-friendly way to put them all together!

How to make Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce:

  • When making these cakes, combine all the other ingredients first, then add the tuna.  Adding the tuna last ensures everything will be evenly distributed.
Photo of tuna kimchi mixture in glass mixing bowl.
  • Because I make so many fish cakes for my personal chef clients, I’ve found forming each one by hand tedious and the results are often uneven.  For even-sized cakes and to expedite the process, I use a 1/3-cup measuring cup.  I simply pack the fish mixture into the measuring cup about three-quarters of the way then invert it onto a baking sheet.  If there’s a little bit of mixture left, I simply add it in even amounts to all the other fish cakes.
Photo of tuna cake mixture in measuring cup with formed cakes in the background.
  • Once formed, it’s a good idea to chill the cakes for an hour or two before frying.  If you are in a hurry, place them in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.  Chilling helps them “set up” so they’ll be easier to fry.
  • While the fish cakes are chilling, mix up the soy-ginger dipping sauce.
Photo of Soy Ginger dipping sauce in glass bowl.
  • Coat the tuna cakes with panko breadcrumbs before frying.  The panko creates a lovely, crispy exterior.
  • Heat the oil to where it’s shimmering then add a pinch or two of the panko breadcrumbs.  If the panko browns quickly, the oil is ready.
  • When nicely browned on both sides, place on a cooling rack to drain.  You never want to put fried food on paper towels because the bottom will get soggy.  Placing the fried Tuna Kimchi Cakes on a cooling rack to drain rather on paper towels ensures the bottom will stay nice and crispy.
Photo of fried Tuna Kimchi Cakes on cooling rack after being fried.

The result is a golden, crispy exterior with that delicious tuna interior that’s laced with the amazing flavor of kimchi!

If desired, serve the Tuna Kimchi Cakes over peppery arugula for a lovely, light and elegant meal!

Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce - On plate over baby arugula
Close-up photo of stack of three Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce.

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Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce - Close-up hero shot of cakes on plate with arugula and dipping sauce

Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

4.96 from 22 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Tuna Kimchi Cakes with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce are crispy, delicious and packed with flavor!  They can be made with pantry items you probably already have on hand!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4
Calories 448 kcal

Ingredients
  

Tuna Cakes

  • 3/4 cup cabbage kimchi - drained and chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions - white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 large egg - beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko - regular or gluten-free, plus more for coating cakes
  • 3 cans (5-ounce each) tuna in water - drained with water reserved
  • 3/4 cup canola oil - or corn or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Arugula - for serving (optional)

Soy – Ginger Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce - or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced

Instructions
 

Tuna Cakes

  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the tuna along and stir, flaking the tuna as you go. Add just enough of the reserved water from the can as necessary to moisten the cakes enough so that they hold together.
  • Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, pack the tuna mixture into the measuring cup approximately 3/4 of the way. Invert onto a baking sheet.
  • Chill for 30 minutes in the freezer or 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Heat oil in a nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle each tuna cake with a little panko, then carefully place in the hot oil. Brown 2-3 minutes or until golden, top with panko again, then carefully flip. Brown the second side for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack set over aluminum foil or on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cakes.
  • Serve over arugula if desired.

Soy – Ginger Dipping Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Notes

FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.  To reheat, place frozen cakes on a baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat for 22 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 27g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1697mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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48 Comments

  1. These fish cakes and dipping sauce are absolutely delicious and easy to make. My family raved and loved them. I substituted cilantro stalks for the scallions (which was what I had on hand) and that worked well. I will try them again but likely add another egg to bind them together better. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi, Gina, Thanks so very much and glad everyone enjoyed! I strive for no-waste cooking so love the idea of using the cilantro stems in this way! Thanks again!

  2. The recipe says to drain the water from the tuna but then
    goes on to instruct to use the water from the tuna. Use it or don’t use it? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Colleen, Thanks so very much for your question. Some brands of tuna have a lot of water in them while others don’t. If there’s not a lot of water, you could probably get away with not draining. I’ve clarified the recipe; drain the water but reserve it. Then, as you’re forming the cakes, add just enough of the water back in to moisten the cakes enough so that they hold together. Hope that clears it up! Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  3. These look absolutely divine – I’d love to make a batch for a simple weeknight dinner! And I agree with everything you wrote about the importance of sustainability – I will definitely keep an eye out for this brand, I’d love to feel confident that I’m putting a quality and sustainable product on the table!

  4. 5 stars
    These look absolutely divine – I’d love to make a batch for a simple weeknight dinner! And I agree with everything you wrote about the importance of sustainability – I will definitely keep an eye out for this brand, I’d love to feel confident that I’m putting a quality and sustainable product on the table!

  5. 5 stars
    These look absolutely divine – I’d love to make a batch for a simple weeknight dinner! And I agree with everything you wrote about the importance of sustainability – I will definitely keep an eye out for this brand, I’d love to feel confident that I’m putting a quality and sustainable product on the table!