Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger

Just when you thought you couldn’t do anything with salmon bones…

Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger

Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger

I was talking up our favorite farmer’s market fishmonger, Pat from Mission Fresh Fish, while Annie was talking to the ladies selling fish. She noticed they had bags of salmon bones for sale.  "What do you make with the salmon bones?"

"Oh, you make salmon cakes."

"Salmon cakes. What a great idea!  How do you do that with these bones?"

"Oh, just scrape the meat off the bones, add a little of this, add a little of that, form them into cakes and pan fry." (She actually recited a recipe but Annie was daydreaming about salmon cakes and wasn’t paying full attention.)

"So, how much for these bones?"

"$1.00 a pound."

"That’s a good deal!  I’ll take a bag." Pause. "Make it two…wait." Pause. "Three? Nah, three’ll probably be too much."  She had already bought a whole bunch of salmon collars.  "Just put it all together, and I’ll pay for it when I come back." (Esther needed to go to the bathroom.)

When Annie came back, she asked how much everything came out to, including the salmon bones.  "Oh, Pat said to just give you the bones."

Score! Did I tell you how much we love our fishmonger?

Finding a Fresh Recipe

So I went looking for a good salmon cake recipe on Food Blog Search.  A lot of recipes call for using canned salmon but I found this one that called for fresh salmon and kaffir lime leaves.  Luckily, we have our own kaffir lime tree in our yard.

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Wild Salmon & Kaffir Cakes Recipe


1 lb wild salmon meat
1 egg white
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 kaffir leaves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp wasabi paste*
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup of panko crumbs and extra for coating
2 tbs of canola or vegetable oil

*I had a tube of wasabi paste in the fridge…which expired in 2004.  Good grief!  I had to toss it out and do without the wasabi.


1. Scrape the meat from the bones with a fork.  Chop the salmon meat coarsely.

Scraping Salmon Meat From the Bones

Scraping Salmon Meat From the Bones

2. Finely chop the kaffir lime leaves, mince the ginger, and chop the parsley and green onions.

Chopped Green Onions, Minced Ginger, Chopped Kaffir Lime Leaves

Chopped Green Onions, Minced Ginger, Chopped Kaffir Lime Leaves

3. Mix the salmon, panko, parsley, egg white, cornstarch, kaffir lime leaf, ginger and green onion together, until well combined.  Season with a few pinches of salt.

Wild Salmon, Panko, Parsley, Egg White, Cornstarch, Kaffir Lime, Ginger, Green Onion

Wild Salmon, Panko, Parsley, Egg White, Cornstarch, Kaffir Lime, Ginger, Green Onion

4. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
5. Form the salmon mixture into patties and coat in panko crumbs. Fry cakes for a couple of minutes per side until they are golden brown.

Frying Salmon Cakes

Frying Salmon Cakes

6. Set salmon cakes aside to drain on paper towels.
7. Serve with ponzu dipping sauce.

Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger

 Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger

I love the fresh taste of the kaffir lime in these salmon cakes, and wish I had used an extra leaf. I also think it could definitely have used that wasabi kick.  The "ponzu" sauce helped reinforce that nice lime flavor.  All in all, this salmon cake recipe is a keeper!

This recipe is entered in the Grow Your Own roundup, created by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

What would you do with the salmon bones?  Leave a comment and share your ideas!

Aloha, Nate.

25 thoughts on “Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger”

  1. >Gorgeous! I’ve bookmarked. And I’m so jealous of your kaffir lime tree — no way they would grow in New England!

  2. >Annie, u r such a good negotiator! I luv this unique combi of salmon cakes. Just wonder whether it is a bit spicy for toddlers?

  3. >Wow, how so very patient scraping the meat from the bones. The salmon cakes look delicious!

  4. >I’ve never seen anything like this but it sounds absolutely delicious! Also, great use of the bones…oh and add me to the list of people jealous of your kaffir lime tree, lol

  5. >For a crazy moment I thought you were going to grind up the bones and put them into the cakes! I love the taste of kaffir leaves and never thought about putting them in a salmon cake. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. >oh wowwwww this is my kind of grub! i won’t even dream of a kaffir lime tree here in hong kong….i’ll revise the dream to be…i wish there’s a shop which sells kaffir lime thingies at affordable price ^_^

  7. >wow it looks fantastic! must be a lot of work scrapping the salmon flesh… but the end product looks great! 🙂

  8. >@christelle – thanks!

    @kalyn, giff, lydia, mike – we’re happy that it grows here. Sometimes the frost hits it but it comes back in the summer. If you keep it in a pot and bring it inside during Winter, it might work for you.

    @food for tots – if you add the wasabi it would be too spicy. But without any heat, it’s fine.

    @js – actually, I was amazed at how easily the meat came off the bone.

    @van – thanks!

  9. >@jenster – naw, we’re gonna bury the bones in the garden!

    @mochachocalata rita – what? shouldn’t you be able to grow kaffir lime there?

    @noobcook – it wasn’t a lot of work, really. Next time, I should take a video.

  10. >These look AMAZING! I used to love when my mom made salmon patties but we definitely used canned salmon and they were never as fresh looking! That picture of the ingredients all together in the bowl is so pretty!

  11. >My mother made salmon cakes when I was a kid, but always with canned salmon. The flavor with fresh salmon is so much better, and yours look fantastic. I’m so envious of your kaffir lime tree!

  12. >I’ve only seen kaffir lime at the international markets, but of course I would like to Grow My Own. 🙂

  13. >It looks like there is still a lot of fish left on the bones. I was so surprised to see that. The fishcakes look sooooooo good! I would do exactly the same with them!! YUM!

  14. >Wow, looks like a really yummy dish, but that’s a lot of work scraping the bones. But hey, I guess it’s free so why complain, right? Turned out nice looking at least.

    Hey, I just discovered your blog after you guys kept visiting mines. (Sorry, I’m slow with my blog reading.) I didn’t know you’re from Hawaii too! We’re all over the place, huh? 🙂


  15. >I love salmon cakes. I actually just made my first salmon patties the other day for a delicious sandwich. These look great!

  16. just made it… had no kaffir lime at the corner store (though a few more miles at an Asian store I’m sure they have it) so I used some lime peel zest. And couldn’t find my stale wasabi tube, so just added a heaping tablespoon of fresh horseradish.

    end result… 9 very happy diners (I doubled the recipe)… I made some crimini mushrooms with a ponzu sauce to go with it, and some baby bok choy with XO sauce from the momofuku book – great stuff!

    oh, and i changed cornstarch to tapioca starch and left out the egg, because of someone’s corn/dairy allergies. and i used a frozen brand of wild pacific salmon. I noticed pacific salmon was mentioned as being fattier, well it just all worked great! egg not needed… yum!

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