Friday, September 16, 2011

Mock crab cakes

September 11, 2011
As promised, here's a recipe for mock crab cakes! It's based on a recipe for real crab cakes in Sri Owen's Indonesian Food. Michael efficiently chopped up all the aromatic elements while the potatoes boiled. I mashed up some chickpeas and stirred together a cornflour paste as replacements for the crab meat and egg.

While the shallow-frying in a very hot wok had me a little anxious, these turned out very nicely; most of the cakes held together with a lightly golden crust. Inside they're a little mushy - I'd like to try leaving the chickpeas half-mashed next time for a little extra texture, though I fear it would also lead to more crumbling.

These mock crab cakes derive almost all their flavour from the 'extras' - the lemongrass, chilli flakes, kaffir lime leaves and ginger are not delicate. It's important to chop them up as finely as you (or your cooking partner!) can. I liked dragging the patties across my plate through the rujak dressing, and I wonder what dipping sauce I could otherwise serve them with. I think it'd start with kecap manis and tamarind.

Mock crab cakes
(adapted from a recipe for real crab cakes
in Sri Owen's Indonesian Food)

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained, then lightly mashed
225g waxy potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender, then mashed
3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass, inner part only
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cornflour, made into a paste with 2 tablespoons water
vegetable oil for shallow frying

The ingredients will take a while to prepare. Drain and rinse those chickpeas, get the potatoes on to boil, and then do all that chopping. Mash the chickpeas and potatoes together in a bowl, then stir through the remaining ingredients (frying oil excepted). Form the mixture into small patties with your hands and place them on a tray. Refrigerate the patties for about half an hour.

Heat the oil in a frypan or wok and shallow-fry the patties in batches until they form a lightly golden crust. Drain the cooked patties on absorbent paper. Serve with salad and a sauce of your choice.


  1. I think Balinese tomato sambal goes with anything Indo. From memory you might have adapted the recipe to de-shrimp paste it when you did the nasi lemak?

  2. I don't think I have ever had proper crab cakes but I have yen to make a veg version so this is great - the whole balinese banquet sounds fantastic

  3. Thanks leaf!

    AOF - that's a great idea! We haven't actually made sambal from scratch ourselves, but I'm willing.

    Johanna - I don't think I've tried real crab cakes, either. I'm pretty sure I'd prefer these. :-)