I know — the crab cakes look “katsu”. Say “katsu” and most non-Japanese people I know think of deep-fried panko-coated deep fried pork, chicken and even vegetables.
Pretty much anything can be cooked katsu-style including crab. But since “katsu” means cutlet and there is no cutlet in this recipe, the crab cakes are crab furai.
Katsu? Furai? What’s the difference? Not much. The process of coating the main ingredient and the deep-frying that comes after are the same. Except there is no cutlet in furai.
This is a fairly easy dish to make. Frozen flaked crab meat was used and all it needed was seasoning. Sweet corn kernels also went into the patties to provide contrast in flavor and texture. After the patties were floured, dipped in egg and smothered with panko, they were deep fried until golden and crisp.
The fried crab cakes were laid on a stack of paper towels to remove excess oil. While that was happening, there was just enough time to make a dipping sauce.
The dipping sauce is a simple affair. Just a mixture of Japanese mayo and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Nothing else. The only thing that’s crucial here is creating a flavor balance that suits your palate best.
Crab furai (Japanese-style crab cakes)
- In a bowl, mix together the crab meat, corn, salt, pepper and starch.
- Divide the crab mixture into eight equal portions and shape each portion into a patty about an inch thick.
- Place the flour, egg and panko in separate shallow bowls.
- Dredge each crab patty in flour, coat with egg then cover with panko.
- In a frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Fry the crab patties (in batches if your frying pan is not so wide) until the coating is golden and crisp.
- Drain the cooked crab furai on paper towels.
- Stir lemon juice into the mayonnaise — just enough to make a pleasant balance.
- Serve the crab furai with the blended Japanese mayonnaise, and lemon wedges on the side.