From Too Many Chefs -

July 12, 2005
Asian Crab Cakes

bigcrab.jpgI recently had a bit of a rant about food that is neither authentic nor intentionally "fusion". Ever since then, I've been a little more cautious about labelling my dishes "Thai" or "Mexican" or, well, any ethnic type unless I'm really sure of the source of my recipe. After all, I'm an American in Paris. I know American food (such a melting pot that anything, really, can be called authentic) and after a dozen years here I feel fairly confident on French food. But I'm on shakier ground with Asian cuisine.

So this dish is based on a lot of recipes I've seen for Thai crab or fish cakes. But I'm not promising that anyone from Thailand would agree on its pedigree. For one thing, I'm pretty sure such a hot country doesn't include mayonnaise in its cuisine. Anyway, they are tasty and they are Thai-influenced. My nieces, who were initially sceptical, thoroughly approved of them, as did the Critic.

Thai-ish Crab Cakes

1 cup fresh crab meat (or, in my case, a mixture of crab and surimi - it's difficult to find crab meat outside a crab in France)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2-3 Tbs fresh chopped coriandre
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 Tbs soy sauce (Thai fish sauce would be even better if you have any)
1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp piment d'espelette (or cayenne pepper)
2 Tbs vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil, but peanut oil would be fine)

Condiment: Asian ginger and pepper hot sauce

Mix the crab meat, mayonnaise, coriandre, lime juice, soy sauce (or fish sauce), ginger and 3/4 of the cup of bread crumbs together. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining bread crumbs and the cayenne pepper or piment. Pat 1/3 cup of the crab meat mixture into a ball about the size of an egg. Flatten it in the bread crumbs, to coat one side. Turn over and press to coat the second side. Form all the cakes and place them in a refrigerator for half an hour to set.

To cook, heat the oil until it is nearly smoking and carefully place the cakes one by one in the pan. When they are crispy and brown on one side, flip them over and cook the other side. It should only take a couple of minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve piping hot with ginger pepper sauce on the side.

These cakes are not too spicy in this recipe but that was partly because I didn't want to put off the nieces. You could easily double the amount of coriander and ginger and maybe even add a few dashes of hot sauce to spice them up. On the other hand, a more subtle approach does allow the flavour of the crab to come through, which is a very good thing.

Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Deli & Fish Company, Inc.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at July 12, 2005 7:04 AM | TrackBack

It is the cruel joke of my life that I'm allergic to three foods I loved at one time - shrimp, crab, and lobster. I do wish I coudl try this recipe out but I think the epi pen mught ruin the flavor.

Posted by barrett on July 12, 2005 at 2:28 PM

Just contemplating it has obviously gotten you so worked up you can't type straight!

I do feel for you, though - all three are delicious. Even the fake crab is really lovely.

By the way, if the surimi has no real crab in it can you eat it? Have you tried?

Posted by Meg in Paris on July 13, 2005 at 9:09 AM