Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 53: Mock Crabcakes

I saw a recipe for mock crabcakes made with tempeh at the Post Punk Kitchen. The thought of using tempeh instead of tofu, like most of the recipes I found, intrigued me. I made some changes to the recipe to keep it closer to the original Maryland crabcakes I used to make when we lived in southern Maryland in our little house by the Chesapeake Bay. *wistful sigh*

The Old Bay seasoning is essential. I swear, it's in everything down there. We would joke that new transplants to the state would get a huge tin of the stuff in their welcome basket, along with a diagram on the only correct way to pick crabs. My ex got to using Old Bay in place of paprika in his Saturday morning homefries. It adds a nice bit of bite and spicy flavor to the potatoes.

Another change I made was adding crushed Saltines, although Ritz crackers would have been my first choice. I remember talking to someone down in Maryland who swore that Ritz crackers were the super-secret ingredient for the perfect crabcake.

While the original recipe looks tasty, I can't recall ever eating a real Chesapeake Bay crab cake that had bell pepper in them. Celery and minced onion, yes. Then again, there have got to be as many ways to craft the perfect crabcake as there are cooks. I wanted to recapture the essence of the crabcakes I remembered.

This recipe came pretty close. The texture of the tempeh is nice, much closer to real lump crabmeat than tofu would ever do, in my opinion.

Mock Crabcakes


  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • water to cover
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced onion, rehydrated
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 8 Saltines, crushed
  • 1 handful toasted nori, crumbled
  • Panko breadcrumbs

  • Spicy mayo:

  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Pepper hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning


  1. Crumble the tempeh into a sauce pan. Pour in enough water to cover the tempeh. Add the Bragg's, olive oil and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, uncover and let boil for 12 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain well.

  2. Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a potato masher. Let sit and cool for about 15 minutes.

  3. Toss in the minced onion and celery and mix well. Add the crushed saltines and crumbled nori and stir well. Fold in the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay Seasoning and mix thoroughly.

  4. Fill the bottom of a pie plate with panko breadcrumbs. Take a small handful of the tempeh mixture and form into a ball. Press them into the panko crumbs in the pie pan and flatten them. Coat the top and sides well. Be careful with these cakes, as they will fall apart with rough handling.

  5. Gently put about four cakes in a large oiled skillet, frying them over medium-high heat. Fry the cakes for about 5 minutes on one side until (GB&D) golden brown and delicious. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a plate. While the second batch is frying, whip up the spicy mayo by mixing all the ingredients together.

  6. Top each cake with a generous dollop of the mayo and eat while still warm.

  • This recipe made 8 generous-sized crabcakes. You could make them much smaller for hors d'oeurvres.

  • They are very fragile. I had to use two spatulas to turn them. I would not recommend turning them more than once. Make sure that you let them cook longer on the first side and come to a nice GB&D state before flipping.


Chandelle said...

These look so yummy! I bookmarked them to make this week. Thanks for the tip about their delicacy; I'll throw in a flax binder to remedy that, and I'll probably use kelp flakes since I am way too lazy to chop up some nori. :)

It took me a long time to come around to tempeh, but now I find it more versatile than tofu in many dishes.

B said...

The kelp flakes ought to work well. I used nori because I have a whole jar of shredded, toasted nori I use as a garnish for Korean food.

For your flax binder, do you use whole flaxseeds or flaxmeal?

Let me know how they turn out! :)

Also, I'd say that the panko crumbs are essential over the regular bread crumbs. They gave the cakes a really nice crispy coating.

Chandelle said...

I use ground flaxseed combined with water to replace eggs as a binder. It's the most effective binder I've used, vastly superior to the Egg Replacer, banana, applesauce, pumpkin, tofu etc., that are often suggested as binders in vegan recipes, plus it adds omega-3s (though a lot of it is probably lost during heating). It's very easy to make: 1 T. ground flaxseed + 3 T. water for each egg you'd use otherwise. You just stir them together and set them aside for a few minutes. It makes an amazing egg-like texture and I've never had it fail on me as a binder (though you wouldn't want to try to scramble it or anything :).

And I agree on the panko - that's the only bread crumb I use because I love the crispiness.

B said...

Thanks you for that flaxseed binder recipe. I'll definitely be trying that out soon. :)

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