Creamy crab croquettes

Posted on April 26, 2009 by Aun

My always hungry wife S and I are devoted Japanese food addicts. We recently realized that 8 of 10 meals we eat out at are at Japanese restaurants. One reason might be that we’re pretty proficient at cooking most other cuisines, so when heading out of the house, we tend to go somewhere where we can’t get food we could otherwise whip up for each other.

Another, much stronger reason is that we just really love going out for Japanese food. We adore all aspects of Japanese cuisine and are equally happy sitting in some small ramen joint as we are partaking in a highly formal, proper kaiseki dinner. And while I wish we could afford to hit our favourite sushi joint on a weekly basis, doing so would put us in the poor house faster than you could say “aburi toro”. Most often, we go to izakaya style restaurants. An izakaya, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet, is a Japanese gastropub, a drinking establishment that also happens to serve darned good food. The dishes are often small and can be easily shared. Which makes them perfect accompaniments for the booze that is often poured (and consumed) quickly and liberally at these establishments.

One of our current favourite books is Mark Robinson’s Izakaya, the Japanese pub cookbook, which came out last year. In the book. Robinson, a long-time Tokyo resident and food authority, introduces his eight favourite izakayas, profiling the owners as well as providing recipes to several of their signature dishes. We’re planning on making a tour of Tokyo at some point in the near future during which we’ll dine at all eight of these fabulous little eateries. But until then, we’ve been happily cooking our way through the delicious and addictive recipes contained in the thin hardback.

One of the best recipes is for creamy crab croquettes. These deep-fried little crab cakes are crisp on the outside but sensationally creamy on the inside. The combination of textures and flavours in the dish make it perfect to go with anything from beer to sake, Champagne or a crisp Riesling. We love watching guests go nuts over these relatively easy to make crowd pleasers.

Try the dish out for yourself. I’ve reprinted a slightly tweaked version of the recipe below. And if you like it, you should definitely buy Robinson’s fabulous book.

Creamy Crab Croquettes
Adapted from Mark Robinson’s Izakaya, the Japanese pub cookbook
Makes 10 small croquettes

130g fresh crabmeat
110g onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Flour, one egg and panko for battering the croquettes

Vegetable oil for deep frying

30g unsalted butter
30g flour
360ml whole milk, warmed

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and saute the onion until lightly browned. Set aside

In a small to medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. When the flour and butter are combined, place back over a low fire and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Then pour the milk in, a little at a time, stirring in order to eliminate lumps and to make a smooth, thick bechamel. Keep stirring over low heat for 5-10 minutes. You want your sauce to be the consistency of a thick mustard. Set aside.

In the large frying pan with the onion, add the crabmeat and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. The goal is to cook off as much moisture as possible. Add the boiled egg and the white sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Spread the mixture on the bottom of a flat rectangular pan. Cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge for an hour or so. You want the mixture quite cold when you make the croquettes.

When chilled, prepare three bowls, one with flour, one with a beaten egg, and one with panko (Japanese bread crumbs). Using a spoon, quickly divide the mixture into 10 equal portions. Then scoop each portion out one at a time, quickly pat into a small, round cake, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg and then coat with panko. Repeat this with all the croquettes, placing them in a container lined with grease-proof paper. Cover with plastic wrap and pop back into the fridge until ready to use.

To prepare, preheat the oil to approximately 180 degrees C. Slip the croquettes into the oil and deep fry, without disturbing, until golden brown. Gently transfer the croquettes onto a wire rack and then serve immediately. They go great with some tartar sauce and a bit of lettuce.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Nat April 26, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Wow..those crabcakes look delish! *wipes off drool* Also, I saw your kitchen and home were in the Home and Decor feature, congrats! You have a beautiful home =)

  2. OysterCulture April 27, 2009 at 6:44 am

    These tasty little morsels sound delicious and I love the wine parings you suggested. Thanks as always for sharing.

  3. The Purple Foodie April 27, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Omg, you just made my mouth water with the description of the croquettes. They look supremely creamy on the inside. I must try this soon.

  4. andrian April 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    which izakayas do you go to?

  5. gastroanthropologist April 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I have to get my hands on that cookbook! This looks divine. Once you go panko its hard to go back to breadcrumbs with crabcakes.

  6. Jen April 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    YUM. These crab croquettes will make me forget the grease-and-salt-laden cakes of my youth.

  7. sooishi April 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    It seems to be oishii!

  8. Hayley April 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    This entry is entirely serendipitous – I was quite unexpectedly given five huge crabs today and had no idea what to do with them! These look delicious, I can’t wait to make them.

  9. Risa April 29, 2009 at 4:31 am

    We call these kani korroke in Japan, and I’ve always loved them. However, my mom never made them! We always had tonkastu (breaded pork culets) and korokke (potato croquettes) and I think that was enough work for her. I’ve posted both recipes on my website about Japanese food.

  10. MFB April 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will try it one of these days.

  11. Ling April 30, 2009 at 7:04 am

    I found out about your blog from the Times listing and have been reading it obessively since.

    As a Singaporean in the UK such net-based resources are like gold dust to us. So thanks very much for sharing your recipes and experience.

    I see that you and S love collecting cookbooks so the next time you are in London, do check out http://www.booksforcooks.com/ if you do not already know about it.

  12. Recipe man April 30, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    looks yummy! thanks
    i love to have creamy galicy sauce with this

  13. Its Not You Its Brie April 30, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I’ve been looking for a good Japanese home-cooking cookbook. Any recommendations? I’m not too familiar with the cuisine, and don’t want to buy one just for the pretty cover.

  14. sweetpea May 1, 2009 at 12:22 am

    I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe for crab croquettes, looks like this the one! In the States, it’s easy to get a decent creamy croquette, but here in HK, I haven’t found any…but I’ll definitely have it back in my own kitchen!
    Btw, I’ve just been reading ur blog, and that’s huge part of my motivation to start my own food blog, give it a look! And if you like it, keep reading and perhaps leave a comment there!

  15. Rachel May 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Those croquettes look heavenly creamy. I definitely have to try this recipe. Great photo is a good inspiration :)

  16. Sascha Bush May 19, 2009 at 4:59 am

    I loooove crab and am always looking for new ways to prepare it. Thanks for this!

    sascha bush
    bettyconfidential.com

  17. Destroy Rock And Roll May 31, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Damn! This recipe sounds really good. I’ve never really been a big fan of crab cakes but I think this recipe is definitely worth trying. Thanks!

  18. Gourmet Mama June 6, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I would agree with Destroy Rock And Roll. This recipe does sound really good. I love crabs but I don’t know a whole lot of recipes for them.

  19. Puja Pawa June 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    where do you buy your crab meat from ????

  20. S June 11, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Dear Puja Pawa, we purchase live Sri Lankan mud crabs from Tekka Market, steam them with spring onions, coriander, some ginger and a splash of Chinese cooking wine, and pick the crabmeat ourselves.

  21. Puja Pawa June 12, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    cool, thanks so much!

  22. Hershey September 27, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    They really were great when I tried those in japan, its technically a deep fried bechamel :D

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