Tonight's Vegan Comfort Dish: Crispy Crabless Cakes

The first time I had a vegan crab cake I was shook! John and I were eating at Lakeside (Wynn Hotel) in Las Vegas and devoured chef Tal Ronnen’s crab cakes in seconds. There was no way I could get access to his secret recipe, but I carefully examined every bite so I could figure it out at home. There are a lot of vegan crab cake recipes made from artichokes or hearts of palm floating around the internet, and while they’re all pretty delicious, ours has been tried and tested by many former seafood addicts who claim they’d rather eat this than the real thing any day!

MAKES 10 cakes

PREP TIME 30 minutes

COOK TIME 15 minutes

Prepare ahead

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The Horseradish-dill Aioli (prep time: 15 minutes)

Ingredients
155g vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp vegan horseradish
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
¼ tsp ground pepper

Method
Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Crispy Crabless Cakes

Ingredients

For the Crabless Cakes
200g drained marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp liquid
35g finely chopped shallot (about 1 small shallot)
65g finely chopped celery (about 1 stick)
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
60g chickpea flour
2 tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
225-475ml vegetable oil, for frying
The Horseradish-dill Aioli

For the breading
30g chickpea flour
75g multigrain breadcrumbs
125ml unsweetened non-dairy milk

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Method
To make the crabless cakes, place all the ingredients, except the oil and aioli, in a large bowl. Combine well with a fork. It’s important that the artichokes, shallots and celery are very small and uniformly chopped so that the cakes will stick together while frying.

You should have a 1cm of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron frying pan or other heavy-based pan for frying. Heat it to a temperature of 180°C-182°C on a deep-frying thermometer.

To make the breading, place the chickpea flour in a wide, shallow dish. Use another shallow dish for the breadcrumbs and a bowl for the milk.

Take 4 tbsp of the crabless cake mixture and press and form it into a thick patty with your hands. Gently place the cake in the chickpea flour and coat all sides evenly. Quickly submerge it in the milk and make sure all the flour looks wet. Remove it from the milk and place in the breadcrumbs. Using your hands, coat all sides of the cake well in the breadcrumbs, then lightly shake off any excess. Set the coated cakes on a plate or baking sheet. Once they’re all assembled, immediately deep-fry in batches.

Delicately place 2 or 3 cakes in the hot oil. Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway through. Gently remove the cakes with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Serve immediately with the aioli. Leftovers can be heated over a medium heat in a pan lightly coated with vegetable oil.

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Extracted from Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota (Ebury Press, approx €21.50). 

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