This delectable appetizer is a variation of an old Pampered Chef recipe. Oh. My. Goodness. I have to tell you...I'm not a big crab fan, but these are tasty little guys! They've come to be one of the most requested appetizers in my house and for good reason. They have a little kick to them thanks to the addition of the cayenne pepper, but it's balanced out by the sweetness of the coconut. I cannot recommend these enough! Even if you've never been good friends with crab, please try this out. I think you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised!
Here's what you'll need to gather for these savory sensations:
Crab, coconut, green onions, carrot, red pepper, ginger, garlic, a lemon (or lemon juice), mayonnaise, rice vinegar, an egg, bread crumbs, and cayenne pepper.
First, you'll want to toast your coconut. You can do this in a pan on the stove, but I prefer to do mine in the microwave.
Place the coconut into a microwave proof container with a large bottom. I find a pie plate works quite well. Heat the coconut in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Continue at 30 second intervals until your coconut looks like this:
Beautiful, isn't it? It may take 3-4 minutes, but keep on it for 30 second intervals. Once it starts toasting, it can go from a beautiful light brown to a burnt mess quickly.
Next finely dice the red pepper, thinly slice the green peppers and shred the carrot.
I love nice, neat little piles of things I've cut. I think I'm become compulsive in my old age.
Also give your crabmeat a chop.
I know what you're thinking. No, this is not technically crab meat (gasp). However, it is much cheaper than real crab meat, and in this recipe it's a perfectly acceptable substitute. If you are dead set against ever allowing surimi (the technical name for the crab flavored pollock) to pass through your threshold, you can absolutely use whatever form of crab you most prefer and chop it into smithereens. My family requests this quite often, so to avoid being put in the poor house via crab debts, I stick with the surimi. Really, you'll be surprised at how you can't tell the difference.
When you've finished all of the slicing, dicing, and hacking, dig out your favorite mixing bowl.
Add in the crab, bell pepper, green onion, carrots, ginger, egg, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Give it a good mix.
In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and cayenne.
Add that to your crab mixture and combine well.
Now you're ready to scoop it out for baking. I use a medium size scoop when I'm making this for my family for our "appetizer meals". If I'm making this as an actually appetizer for a function, I tend to use my small scoop. It will give you a nice two-bite crab cake, perfect for a holiday party.
Scoop the mixture out and onto the toasted coconut.
Sprinkle the top of your crab scoop with a little more of the toasted coconut, then gently smoosh a bit with the back of a small spatula.
Using your spatula, carefully move the flattened ball from the coconut and onto the baking sheet.
Continue with the rest of the crab mixture. You can place these fairly close together on the baking sheet because they will not spread any more than they are now.
Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes until they are firm and a tad more golden. You can eat this alone or dip them in a plum, mustard, or curry sauce for a more asian flavor. Enjoy!
Coconut Crab Cakes
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted
8 ounces crab meat (really, artificial works quite well!)
1 Tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise,
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Toast coconut in microwave. In a bowl combine crab, ginger, garlic, onion, red pepper, carrot, lemon juice, mayonnaise, egg and rice vinegar. Mix well. Combine bread crumbs and cayenne, then add to crab mixture. Scoop mounds of crab mixture onto coconut. Sprinkle with extra coconut. Flatten cakes slightly with small spatula and carefully transfer to baking sheet. Bake at 375 18-20 minutes until coconut is slightly browner than before. Enjoy!