Vegan Crab Cakes from Smith and Daughters

Pasteles de Cangrejo looks like a hard recipe with a bunch of ingredients at first glance, but it’s really not!

April 21, 2017

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 2 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, 2 peeled, 2 crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter
  • 15 oz tinned hearts of palm
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 large spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
  • sea salt flakes
Crumb
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (use regular breadcrumbs if you can’t find panko)
Avocado Cream
  • 1 large avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup Garlic Aioli (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Garlic Aioli
  • 115 g (4 oz) silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Mango Salsa
  • 2 firm ripe mangoes, diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum (bell pepper), finely diced
  • 1/2 – 1 green jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • small handful coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • small handful mint, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

Instructions

Place the potato in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaf, whole garlic cloves and salt, then bring to the boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook until you can easily pierce the potato with a knife. Drain, remove the bay leaf, and transfer the potato and garlic to a large bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Mash, then season to taste and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Drain the hearts of palm and rinse under cold water. Cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) lengths and shred with your fingers until it resembles crab meat. If you have the luxury of having access to fake meat, you can substitute crab meat for the hearts of palm.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the shredded palm and fry for a few minutes, until it begins to lightly brown. Add the celery, spring onion, jalapeño and crushed garlic. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, then add the fish sauce, Old Bay Seasoning and ground cumin. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer this mixture to the mash. Add the mustard, dill, coriander and lime zest and stir to combine. Put the mixture in the fridge to cool completely.

Shape the mixture into tennis ball-sized balls (or roll into golf ball-sized balls for a finger-food option). Flatten your balls into thick discs and put back into the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.

To prepare the crumb, pour the soy milk into one bowl and add the vinegar. Mix and set aside – it will thicken slightly. Add the flour to another bowl and season to your liking with salt and pepper. Place the panko crumbs in a third bowl.

Coat each crab cake with the flour, then dip into the soy milk wash and finally in the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure they are well coated with no gaps.

Place the crumbed crab cakes back into the fridge so the crumb can set.

Pour vegetable oil in a large frying pan until 1 cm (1/2 in) deep and place over medium heat. Cook the crab cakes, 3–4 patties at a time, for 3–4 minutes on each side until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towel and season with salt flakes.

Serve with mango salsa and avocado cream or any aioli dipping sauce that you love.

For the Avocado Cream
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. It’s best to eat this on the day you make it, but it will keep in an airtight container with plastic wrap covering the surface of the cream for up to 2 days in the fridge.

For the Garlic Aioli 
Place all of the ingredients except the oils in a blender and blend until well combined. With the motor running on medium speed, slowly drizzle in the oils until well combined and emulsified.

For the Mango Salsa
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for at least 1 hour for the flavors to infuse.

About this recipe

We know this looks like a hard recipe with a bunch of ingredients at first glance, but it’s really not. Give it a go! For parties, make smaller golf ball-sized cakes and dress with mango salsa and avocado cream – they’re a really great finger-food option.

Our aioli is one of the main Smith & Daughters customer freak-out menu items. It is also one of Shannon’s holy grails as far as recipes go. While there are heaps of vegan aiolis out there now, this one took Shannon 10 years to perfect, and to this day forms the base of so much goodness in our restaurant and deli. So creamy and garlicky, and free of eggs, it’s ace for pregnant people, and those with allergies and intolerances. This recipe doubles very well.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse. Photos: Bonnie Savage. Buy Smith & Daughters at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 2 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, 2 peeled, 2 crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter
  • 15 oz tinned hearts of palm
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 large spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
  • sea salt flakes
Crumb
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (use regular breadcrumbs if you can’t find panko)
Avocado Cream
  • 1 large avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup Garlic Aioli (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Garlic Aioli
  • 115 g (4 oz) silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Mango Salsa
  • 2 firm ripe mangoes, diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum (bell pepper), finely diced
  • 1/2 – 1 green jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • small handful coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • small handful mint, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
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