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Fish and Shellfish, Mains

Wild Ginger's Dungeness crab cakes with lime dipping sauce

Wild Ginger's Dungeness crab cakes with lime dipping sauce
Eric Boyd / Los Angeles Times

Seattle chef Tom Douglas likes to recount how he moved to that hotbed of Dungeness crab in 1977 and could not find a crab cake to save his mid-Atlantic soul. He put one on his first menu, adapting a Delaware ... Read more

Total time: About 35 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time | Serves 8
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Southeast Asian red curry paste
  • 2 green onions, white part only, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 pound Dungeness crabmeat, drained, picked clean of shell and lightly squeezed if wet
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or regular basil
  • Peanut or canola oil for frying

Step 1For the crab cakes, whisk the eggs lightly in a large mixing bowl. Add the curry paste and whisk until completely blended. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the green onions, shallots, cilantro and ginger. When everything is well combined, gently stir in the crabmeat and mix well.

Step 2Spread 1 1/2 cups panko in a wide shallow container. Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Shape the crab mixture into patties, laying them in the panko. Sprinkle as much of the remaining panko as needed to cover the tops. Cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (these do not sit well overnight).

Step 3For the dipping sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of water with the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, sambal oelek, garlic, dill, mint and basil in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Step 4Place 2 large nonstick or cast-iron skillets (or use one pan and cook in batches) over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pans by about one-eighth inch. When the oil is hot, shake the excess panko from the crab cakes, add 4 to each pan and reduce the heat to medium. Fry until the cakes are golden brown and heated through, turning once with a spatula to brown both sides, 3 to 5 minutes on a side. Reduce the heat as needed so they don't brown too quickly.

Step 5Drain on paper towels and serve with the dipping sauce.

Note: Adapted from "I Love Crab Cakes!" by Tom Douglas with Shelley Lance. Curry paste and sambal oelek, a ground chile paste, can be found in Asian markets and well-stocked supermarkets.


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