Another miraculous transformation of the kind of ingredient we all have knocking about in a kitchen cabinet. Texture is always important in fishcakes, and the water chestnuts add a lovely light, pickled crunch. Grating the ginger releases all of its fresh, fiery juices, so make sure you catch them all in the bowl.
First make the dipping sauce. Mix together all the sauce ingredients, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and adjust the flavors as necessary. Set aside.
Drain the tuna and place in a bowl; use a fork to separate the chunks. Add the water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, cilantro, chile, and lime leaves and season with salt and pepper. Add the fish sauce and beaten eggs. Mix well.
Squeezing the mixture to tightly compress it and get rid of any excess liquid, shape it into balls the size of golf balls. Flatten them lightly into patties.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add a little oil, and pan-fry the fishcakes on each side for 1–2 minutes until golden on all sides and heated through. Serve with the dipping sauce.
HOW TO HANDLE CHILES
When you’ve been chopping chiles, rub your hands with olive oil before washing them. The oil helps dissolve the capsaicin, the source of the chiles’ heat, which is more soluble in oil than in water, and it will then rinse away easily.