Asian-Cornish Crab Cakes

Asian-Cornish Crab Cakes.jpg

“One of my most memorable fishing experiences was being out there on the boat in Newquay Cornwall, catching spider crabs. I was completely blown away by the sheer size of them - from claw to claw, a spider crab can expand up to 2 metres long! If you can’t get your hands on spider crabs, substitute with blue-swimmer, spanner or mud crab.”
- Luke Nguyen

Serves 4


2 tbsp Dijon mustard

120 g (½ cup) mayonnaise

1 free-range egg

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 cm piece ginger, finely chopped

1 kaffir lime leaf, finely shredded

1 tbsp thinly sliced coriander leaves

2 tsp kumquat or lime zest

600 g picked spider crab meat

90 g (1½ cups) panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

50 g butter

125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil


100 ml Chinese black vinegar

100 g palm sugar

4 sprigs of dill


1 cucumber, thinly shaved lengthways

6 baby radishes, finely sliced

10 sprigs of coriander

10 sprigs of dill

1 lime, zested


Place the mustard, mayonnaise, egg and fish sauce in a large bowl and use a hand held whisk to combine well. Stir in the spring onions, red onion, ginger, kaffir lime leaf, coriander and kumquat zest, then gently fold in the crab and breadcrumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, place the vinegar, sugar, dill and 100 ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stand until cool. Add the cucumber and baby radish, toss to coat well, then stand for 30 minutes or until lightly pickled.

Using slightly damp hands, divide the crab mixture into 8 portions and shape into firm discs.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, then add half the butter and oil. When the butter is foaming, fry half the crab cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel. Wipe the pan clean and repeat with the remaining butter, oil and crab cakes.

To serve, drain the pickled cucumber and radish from the dressing and place in a bowl. Add the dill and coriander sprigs and toss gently. Place the crab cakes on a serving platter, then top each with a little salad. Using a microplane, shave a little lime zest over the top, then drizzle with a little dressing and serve immediately.

Phuong Nguyen