Comfort Food: Crab Cakes

Two years ago when Steve and I started cooking all of our meals at home, we didn't really know where to start. I have a small metal recipe box that I've carried around with me since I graduated from high school, but its contents were incredibly limited. We started by spending a lot of time at, using their "search by ingredient" feature to find new recipes that used foods we already knew we liked. But soon, I developed an insatiable appetite for cookbooks. I wanted to be able to flip through something tangible and to stumble across recipes that I wouldn't know to search for online. Snatching up every single one I could find, I would leave Goodwill or the thrift store with armloads. Spiral-bound church cookbooks, recipes by Food Network stars, it didn't matter; I wanted them all.

I've become more discriminating since then, now that our tastes have become more defined. I'm able to reign myself in and limit myself to those that I know will have a larger percentage of recipes that will fit into our lifestyle. However, I am still left with shelves full of cookbooks that have maybe one or two recipes in them that sounded good enough for us to try. One of them from these early days had a remarkable recipe for Thai Crab Cakes by 1990s Thai food sensation Tommy Tang. I had never heard of Tommy Tang before reading this cookbook, but these crab cakes are enough to convince me that he knows his stuff. In my younger years, I was a huge fan of bland foods. Pasta noodles with butter and nothing else was about as exciting as it got, but learning to eat with Steve has opened me up to a world of spices that I shunned even just a few years ago. We change these crab cakes slightly from the printed version, but they retain their spicy deliciousness and their spring freshness.

They're a once-in-awhile treat for us, I think this is the third time we've made them in two years, but that makes them all the more delicious. They are something that we look forward to.

Thai Crab Cakes
Adapted from Tommy Tang in Home Food
6 oz. crab meat
1/2 C. button mushrooms, diced
1/3 C. onion, diced
2 TBS. scallion, minced
3 TBS. red bell pepper, minced
3 TBS. bamboo shoots, minced
3 TBS. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1 TBS. sriracha chili sauce
1/4 tsp. each of white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt
1 TBS. fish sauce
1 TBS. fresh lemon juice
1 TBS. extra virgin olive oil
3/4-1 C. dried bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Shape mixture into 7-8 balls and flatten into disc shapes.
Refrigerate cakes while you heat pan to firm them up slightly.
In large skillet, heat fat of your choice over medium high heat.
Fry cakes in fat, 4 minutes on each side. These crumble easily, so take care in flipping them.

We serve these with homemade pasta and a side of yogurt for dipping.


  1. Those crab cakes sound delicious, thanks for sharing that recipe.

  2. I will totally try your recipe- Getting a bit tired of the one I usally make- AND I happen to have all these ingredients-
    I usually stock up on crab meat when it is on sale- and just freeze it.

  3. Yummy. This is going to my recipe binder.

  4. These look delicious. I'm marking these in my recipe folder for dinners this week. Thanks for the inspiration. I can't wait!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Two things I love, Iowa City and crab cakes! Thanks for the recipe. Have a great weekend!