Cats, Cooking, and Life!

Japanese Crab Cakes with Spicy Mayo

This is a great recipe that makes for some scrumptious crab cakes. They're a bit finicky, though, as several steps are required to put them together. But they're not difficult to create.

More importantly, they need to be deep fried, so this recipe is *not* for everyone!

But we're not everyone so we bravely forged ahead. The Wonder Woman has lots of experience with stovetop deep frying as she has make wonderful spring rolls for lots of years (more about them in a later post).

Our deep fryer is a pot on the stove top. It's fine if you watch carefully and don't allow it to overheat and start smoking or burning. We keep the heat relatively low, too.

These crab cakes are very nice when served fresh from the fryer with some spicy mayo. The spice level is up to you, of course. Feel free to adjust the ingredients as you see fit.

Ingredients for the spicy mayo
  • 120 ml mayonnaise (1/2 cup)
  • 60 ml (or to taste) your favourite hot sauce such as Sriracha or Sambal Oelek or Tabasco (1/4 cup)
  • 30 ml tobiko fish roe (optional) (2 Tbsp)
  • 10 ml rice wine or rice vinegar (2 tsp)
  • freshly grated lemon zest

Ingredients for the crab cakes

  • 65 g flour (1/2 cup)
  • 120 g butter (1/2 cup)
  • 750 ml milk (3 cups)
  • 500 g crab meat, in small chunks or diced. (1 lb)
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 125 ml rice wine (optional) (1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium potato, cubed and boiled. mash it until it's no longer lumpy
  • Flour for coating
  • 1 egg, beaten, for coating
  • Panko bread crumbs, from Japan, for coating. You can substitute regular bread crumbs but they won't have that special crunch.
  • oil for deep frying

Directions for the spicy mayo

Combine all ingredients in a small blender, or stir vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Directions for the crab cakes

Start by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Mix in the flour and stir until well combined. Then gradually add the milk and stir until it's smooth.

Add mashed potato in the milk mixture. Mix well.

In a fry pan, carmelise the onion.  Add the crab meat onion and stir fry for a bit.  Add salt, pepper and wine to season.

Add the crab mixture to the potato and milk.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool enough to handle easily.

Lay out 3 medium-size bowls, one containing flour, one with the beaten egg and the last containing bread crumbs. Line a tray with wax paper to hold the finished crab cakes.

With your hands, take some crab mixture and shape into a ball, about 3 cm in diameter.

Dredge the ball in the flour. Remove it and shake off any excess flour. Then dip it in the egg until coated. Remove and shake off the excess egg. Finally, roll the crab in the bread crumbs. Flatten into a disc and place on the tray. Repeat for the rest of the crab cakes.

Heat the oil in the deep fryer or pan. The oil should be at least 5 cm deep to be effective. Otherwise the oil will cool too much when the cakes are added.

Have a plate lined with paper towels ready to drain the crab cakes as they're finished frying.

Once the oil is medium hot, add a crab cake, two at a time into the pan. They'll float to the surface. Watch them carefully and turn once when browned. Remove from the oil and onto the cooling plate. Repeat for all.  The purpose of the frying is to brown the breadcrumbs.  The crab mixture is already cooked so you don't need to deep fry for long, and not a very high temperature.

Serve while still hot along with the dipping sauce in small bowls.

Makes about 20 crab cakes.


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