Chef Cyrus Todiwala’s Crab cake with spiced mayonnaise
Crab is popular not only in coastal regions of India, but also inland, where freshwater crabs thrive along riverbeds, yet the latter lack the depth of flavour of their seafaring cousins. The recipe below works best with a combination of white and brown crabmeat in a 70:30 or 80:20 ratio.
Serves 3–4 as a main course
Or 6–8 as a starter or canapé
Image Credit : Nitin Kapoor
Ingredients for Crab cake
- Extra virgin rapeseed oil 4 tablespoons
- Black mustard seeds ½ teaspoon
- White lentils (urad daal) or Yellow split peas (channa daal) 1 heaped teaspoon
- Cumin seeds ½ teaspoon
- Chopped fresh root ginger 1 tablespoon
- Chopped fresh green chilli 1 tablespoon
- Red shallots 6, or 2 small red onions, Finely chopped
- Freshly grated coconut 2 tablespoons, or 1 heaped tablespoon
- Desiccated coconut soaked in enough Warm water to just cover for 30 minutes
- Diced tomato 1 tablespoon
- White crabmeat 250–300g
- Brown crabmeat 1–2 tablespoons
- Chopped fresh coriander 1 heaped tablespoon
- Floury potatoes 3 large, roughly cubed
- Curry leaves 12–14, preferably fresh,Shredded; if using dried, soak in water for10–12 minutes, and dry thoroughly before Shredding (optional)
- Eggs 3–4 Plain flour for dusting Rice flour, medium semolina or
- White breadcrumbs 200g
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Spiced mayonnaise 100g
- Garnished with red chili powder, to serve
Ingredients for spiced Mayonnaise
- English mustard paste 2 tablespoons
- Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons
- Tomato ketchup 2 tablespoons
- Fresh green chillies 1–2 finger-type,
- Deseeded and finely chopped
- Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
- Garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
- Finely chopped fresh coriander 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
- Homemade or shop-bought mayonnaise 200g
- Lime juice to taste (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method – Crab Cake
Prepare and set out all your ingredients in the order listed.
Heat half the oil in a wok until nearly at smoking point, then reduce the heat toMedium. Add the mustard seeds and hold a lid loosely above them so that they
Don’t go all over the place when they crackle and pop. The moment you get aNutty aroma and the popping reduces, add the lentils. Stir, watching until theyChange colour slightly, then immediately add the cumin seeds. Continue heating And stirring until the lentils turn a little brown, but do not let them burn.
Add the ginger, chilli and shallots, and sauté until the shallots become soft And pale. Mix in the coconut and sauté for 2–3 minutes, stirring with a wooden Spatula to prevent sticking. The idea is to drive off some of the moisture and Lightly toast the coconut.
Lightly stir in the tomato, then add the crabmeats, stirring until heated through.Add the coriander and salt to taste. Transfer to a dish and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. When boiling, add some salt And the potatoes, and cook for about 8–10 minutes, until tender. Drain well, Then return the potatoes to the pan and place them over a low heat, stirring With a wooden spatula from the bottom up until they look dry, slightly crushed And fluffy. Pass through a ricer or mash with a potato masher until free of lumps. Season with salt, pepper and the curry leaves, if using. Set aside to cool.There are 2 ways to make the crab cakes. The first is to mix the potato and crab
Mixture together, then form it into small patties of whatever size you like. The Second is the indian way, which is to roll the mashed potato into balls of the
Preferred size, flatten them in the palm of your hand, add a tablespoon of the Crab mixture, then carefully envelop in the potato. Whichever method you use,
Make sure the cakes are smooth and free of cracks before the next step. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl until fully combined. Place the plain flour in a Second bowl and the rice flour, semolina or breadcrumbs in a third. Taking one Cake at a time, dip it first in the egg, then in the second bowl and finally in the third.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan. When hot, fry the cakes onEach side until brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with spiced mayonnaise.
For Spiced Mayonnaise
Combine the mustard, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, Chillies, chilli powder, garlic and coriander in a bowl And mix well with a spoon, almost beating them Together, until the flavours are amalgamated. Put the mayonnaise into a separate bowl and fold in
The mustard mixture. Taste and season if necessary. Most ready-made mayonnaise is quite sharp because it Contains acidic stabilizing agents, so it does need good Seasoning. A few drops of lime juice might actually Help too.
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