Our collection of vegan recipes with jackfruit is growing by the day. And while we used this fruit to replace chicken or beef meat, we hadn't yet tried it in place of fish or seafood. So, after much experimenting, we added a fantastic new recipe to our repertoire: plant-based crab cakes with jackfruit. Yum!
Our recipe is inspired by the classic American crab cakes, particularly popular in Maryland and Virginia. We kept some of the traditional ingredients like Dijon mustard, parsley, celery, and spices. Then, we made a few tweaks so that our recipe is both vegan and gluten-free. How did we do it? Keep reading to learn more!
First, we had to find a good substitute for crab meat. While we used mashed beans in our previous vegan fish cakes, here we wanted to get the same look and feel as crab meat. That means flaky and soft, yet meaty and chewy. And jackfruit is just perfect for this!
Young unripe jackfruit is fleshy and fibrous and can be easily be pulled into strips, looking pretty similar to crab meat. You can find green jackfruit canned in water or brine at your local Asian food store or well-stocked supermarket. Just drain it, rinse it, and start pulling the filaments. Oh, and one trick to remove the bitter aftertaste of the brine is to mix it with acid-neutralising baking soda.
As for the other ingredients, we skipped the classic mayo and replaced Worcestershire sauce with gluten-free soy sauce. Then, we used a mix of rice flour and starch to bind the cake dough and give it structure, as eggs and breadcrumbs would do. And to bring back the flavour of the sea, we tipped in some flaked nori.
You can shape the mixture into large patties or cute bite-sized cakes, perfect as a fancy appetiser. Then, a quick round in the oven and your jackfruit crab cakes are ready. Serve them with lemon wedges on a bed salad for a starter or with chips and coleslaw as a main meal. And why not glazing them with some vegan tartar sauce, mustard, or hot sauce? Simply irresistible!
- Canned Jackfruit in Water (drained weight)
- Celery Stalk
- Chopped Parsley
- Nori Sheets
- Dijon Mustard
- Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
- Rice Flour (or other gluten-free flour)
- Baking Soda
- Paprika (sweet or smoked)
- Vegetable Oil (for greasing)
Let's start by preparing the jackfruit.
Drain the canned chunks and rinse them well under cold water. Then, squeeze them as hard as you can to remove excess water.
Now, slice each chunk at the point where the hard tip connects to the stringy flesh. Then, thinly chop the tip and pull apart the jackfruit filaments, as you would do with meat. Pop out any seeds and discard them.
You should now have shredded and diced jackfruit bits.
Next, thinly dice the celery, chop the parsley, and flake the nori sheet.
Add the prepared jackfruit to a bowl, followed by the celery, parsley, nori, mustard, soy sauce, rice flour, starch, and baking soda.
Tip in the seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the ingredients with a spoon and then pour in the water a bit at a time. Depending on how wet your jackfruit meat is, you might not have to use all the water.
The crab cake mixture should be moist but compact enough to hold its shape when pressed together.
We recommend leaving the dough to set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes as it will be easier to mould into patties.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) static or 200°C (400°F) fan.
Line a tray with baking paper and lightly grease it with vegetable oil.
To shape one crab cake, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the dough. Press it down inside the cup to compact it, and then flip it onto your palm. Then, flatten it down into a patty and place it onto the prepared baking tray.
You can also shape the cake by hand if you don't have a measuring cup, but lightly grease your hands first as the dough is quite wet.
Finally, bake the jackfruit crab cakes for 15 minutes, flip them, and cook them for 5 more minutes.
Once they're lightly crusty and browned, remove them from the oven and drizzle them with lemon juice before serving.
You can add a pinch of cayenne pepper and cinnamon to the seasoning mix for extra flavour.