Source: ‘Jerusalem’ – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Start with the fish cakes so they can firm up prior to frying. Chop up the fish very finely and place in a bowl with all the other ingredients except for the olive oil. When using bread instead of panko you need to blitz the bread in a food processor to form breadcrumbs. Mix well and then, using your hands, shape the mixture into compact cakes, about 2cm thick and 8cm wide. The mixture should make 8-12 cakes, depending on how big you want them. I always refrigerate the cakes for at least 30 minutes to firm up, but when you have time one hour is even better.
While the cakes are firming up in the refrigerator you can start on the tomato sauce. Heat up the olive oil in a very large frying pan for which you have a lid. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-8 minutes until soft and translucent on medium heat. Make sure not to burn the garlic. Then add the spices and fry for another minute. Add the water and keep simmering for another 3 minutes. Add the passata, chili, garlic, sugar, ¾ tsp of salt and some black pepper. Simmer on low heat for about one hour and taste to adjust the seasoning when needed.
While the sauce is cooking add the remaining oil to a frying pan and fry the cakes for about 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Place the seared cakes gently, side by side, in the tomato sauce. Carefully add enough water to partially cover the cakes, about 200ml. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cakes to settle, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with mint.