Pan-Asian Crab Cakes With Three Dipping Sauces

Flavored with a blend of lime, cilantro, lemongrass and scallions, these crab cakes have a distinctive Southeast Asian twist. We’ve paired them with three tasty, easy-to-make dipping sauces: Cilantro-Mint Peanut Sauce, Chunky Mango-Chili Sauce and Coconut-Wasabi Mayo. Pick one or make all three and serve with steamed jasmine rice and fresh greens or our Sweet-Hot Thai-Style Cucumber Salad.

Pan-Asian Crab Cakes With Three Dipping Sauces

Pan-Asian Crab Cakes With Three Dipping Sauces

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Southeast Asian-style crab cakes served with a trio of sauces that include Cilantro-Mint Peanut Sauce, Chunky Mango-Chili Sauce and Coconut-Wasabi Mayo.


  • 1 lb lump crabmeat
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro stems, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, finely chopped (see substitution info below)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped (see substitution info below)
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • Vegetable oil

Cilantro-Mint Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha, more or less to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Chunky Mango-Chili Sauce:

  • 1 medium, ripe mango, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Coconut-Wasabi Mayo:

  • 2 teaspoons wasabi powder, more or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest


  • Place the crabmeat in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and sriracha and combine with the crab. Add the cilantro stems, scallions, lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves. Combine gently to avoid crumbling the crabmeat.
  • Add the panko crumbs in 1/2 cup increments, tossing gently after each addition until the mixture reaches a consistency that will hold together when formed into patties. We ended up using 2 cups.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with nonstick spray.
  • To form the crab cakes, gently pack some of the crab mixture into a 1/3 cup measure that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Turn out onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining crab mixture. Using the back of a spatula, very gently compact each crab cake to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cover loosely and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably one hour.
  • Note: Chilling the crab cakes prior to frying helps them to hold together better during cooking, so try to go the full hour if possible.
  • While the crab cakes chill, prepare the sauces by whisking together the ingredients for each in three separate bowls. Set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to develop.
  • To fry the crab cakes, heat 1/8-inch of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the crab cakes in a single layer and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 3-1/2 minutes per side. Carefully transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels, add fresh oil and cook the remaining crab cakes in the same manner.
  • Serve with steamed jasmine rice, fresh lettuce, cucumbers, sliced tomatoes and dipping sauces on the side.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Ingredient Substitutions:

If you don’t have lemongrass or Kaffir lime leaves, substitute 1 teaspoon each of freshly grated lemon and lime zest. You can also substitute Tabasco for the sriracha, but cut the quantity in half.
Special Note: The crabcake recipe and prep method was inspired by some of the terrific crab cake recipes that have appeared in Cuisine at Home Magazine over the years.
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