In Translation: Crabcakes, in Thai

thai'd crabcakes

Marra, Logan, Rachel and Wayne came for lunch.

One of my favorite recipes is for crabcakes, and I wanted to try putting a new spin on it, so I came up with these extremely light Thai’d up crabcakes which I served in lettuce wraps with a slaw on top. Good enough to deserve the new category here.


  • 16 oz backfin crab, picked through for shell
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, shelled
  • 1 12 oz can of non-homogenized coconut milk
  • 1 TB fish sauce
  • 1 TB srirarcha
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 scallions
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups panko
  • 1 mango
  • 1 jicama
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 2 limes
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 large head of sturdy lettuce
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch thai basil


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Do not shake the coconut milk. Carefully open the tin, and with a spoon, harvest the top half of the container, which will have much more fat and solids than the lower half, which should be reserved for the salad. Put the “cream” of the coconut in a food processor along with the shrimp, scallions, garlic, egg, fish sauce, sriracha, and salt. Process until smooth. Pour this paste into a bowl and gently stir in the crab. Form patties 1-2″ in diameter and 1/2″ thick and coat in Panko. On a parchment-lined, greased baking pan, line the crabcakes up – they will not expand. Bake for 10 minutes and then pull the whole tray out, flip each crabcake over, and then bake for another 10 minutes. Pull out and allow to rest 5 minutes before plating.

While the crabcakes bake, peel and julienne the mango and the jicama. Toss with the juice of 2 limes, the ginger mince, the sesame oil, and about half of the remaining coconut water, or enough to fully moisten the combination.

Peel the lettuce leaves off individually and rinse and dry. Rinse the cilantro and basil and chop them roughly.

To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter, top each lettuce leaf with a crabcake, then the mango jicama salad, and then the herbs. Encourage guests to eat with their hands.


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