It seems to me that when it comes to cilantro, there are 2 camps – those who love it and those who despise it! You only have to do a quick tour through my blog to know which camp I reside in. I did not grow up with this peppery herb, but once I started travelling, I fell for it, big time and was astonished to learn just how many cuisines embrace it. What the nay-sayers describe as strong and soapy, I find to be fresh and exotic. I love the way the flavour changes when you cook the fresh herb in a dish such as this one. I never leave the vegetable market without a fresh bunch of cilantro and find myself adding it to much of what I cook; from soups and salads to stews and casseroles! Thankfully most of my friends and family love cilantro as well.
I was going to make this recipe for our party on New Years Eve, but ran out of time. Instead, I made it for dinner last week and served it with a simple salad. I find crab to be very rich, so you only really need a couple of cakes to make a nice dinner. Just one word about the salt levels: the original recipe called for much more salt. Because fish sauce is so salty, I would just use minimal salt during the preparation and if you use canned crab like I did, I would not add any extra salt. This recipe would make a lovely appetizer for a party or a nice light meal with a salad. The recipe comes from the latest issue of “Taste” magazine, by BC Liquor Stores and I have tweaked it.
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
1 cup fresh or canned crab meat (see note re: salt)
1 pound fresh raw shrimp, finely chopped
½ cup fine dried breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons red or green Thai curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt (If you are using canned crab, do not add any additional salt)
½ teaspoon white pepper
Salt and pepper
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Mango, finely sliced
Mix together shallots, crabmeat, chopped shrimp, breadcrumbs, cilantro, and green onions. Put aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together egg, curry paste, fish sauce, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper.
Stir second mixture gently into the first mixture until well combined.
With wet hand, shape 2 tablespoons of the mixture into flattened rounds (about 1 ½ inches wide and ½ inch thick. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. These can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 hours.
Heat oil in a skillet. When hot, cook the cakes a few at a time until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
You can alternatively place the cakes into a preheated 350° oven and bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. I did both methods and preferred the fried ones. Enjoy!
Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce, garnished with mango and more chopped cilantro.