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Can kosher "crabmeat" be used to make crab cakes?

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I buy the kosher "crabmeat" and I make cold crabmeat salad which people like very much, and some (who would know) say tastes authentic - , of course they might just be trying to make me feel good. But most of my friends and family, who have no way of knowing any better, like it very much.

I'd like to try my hand at making crab cakes, but it seems to be that the kosher crabmeat is a cooked, processed food. In that case, does it lend itself to other recipes that require further cooking or frying?

Has anyone prepared it in any other recipe?

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a day would come when I'd be making crabmeat salad for Shabbos. :-)

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  1. Surimi crab isn't just for Jews. It's pretty widely used. (real crab is pricey) And there are lots of recipes out there. In fact, lots of commercial "crab" and seafood salads are made using it, not real crab.

    Park East (Manhattan) makes delectable crab cakes, I have always assumed that this is what they use. Though I don't know for sure and have never made my own.

    Google us something ike surimi crab cakes and go for it.

    1. No personal experience with real crab cakes, but I think lump crabmeat is what is really used to make crab cakes, and I don't think surimi has the same texture at all. That said, I did once make mock crab cakes using it, by chopping it up into pretty fine pieces. It can be done, but since I never had real crab cakes, even in my previous "life," I have no idea how authentic they were.

      1. I'm wary for two reasons. One, sweet foods that are good cold are often icky when heated. Crabsticks are much sweeter than crab (due to added sugar, I assume). Might not be the best use of the product. Also, crab is texturally like a hybrid of fish and chicken in my mind - it's delicate, but holds together. It's a nugget of precious savory meatiness in the midst of the mushy crabcake filler. I'm not sure that crabsticks will provide that balance in the same way, since they themselves are sorta mushy. Maybe a real fish with some sweeetness (seabass?) would be a better approximation, since it is less sweet and more meaty? But hey, what do I know? Give it a try. I would start with a small batch.

        1. If you chop the phoney crab very fine (almost ground) it will make a good krabcake. It will not be good in large pieces as it has a completely different texture than lump crab and breaks down/apart while cooking.

          Best is to make a mixture of finely ground ingredients, adding mayo for moisture, form the cakes, roll in Panko breadcrumbs, and then either pan fry (not deep fat fry) or cook on a griddle sprayed with Pam or similar product until dark golden brown. We add finely chopped celery, onions and some mashed potato into our mix and season with salt, pepper and a small amount of sage.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bagelman01

            Here ya go. We tried this recipe that we found and it worked out really well.


            1. re: HungryJew

              thanks, BUT the OP wanted to know if it worked, I told her how I make them, I wasn't looking for a recipe.
              Read the recipe, but it's not to my taste, don't care for the pepper

              1. re: bagelman01

                BagelMan and Hungry Jew, thanks to both of you. I think I'll give it a shot next week when I've got a little time.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  Sorry, I thought I was responding to the OP. Either way it is just another crab cake recipe and this one uses larger pieces of the fake crab and they don't fall apart when cooking.

                  You may like the recipe though if you try it....We did!

              1. We make crab cakes, which taste good but have been told they don't tast authentic.

                  1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                    Monkfish is not kosher, as far as I know.

                    1. re: queenscook

                      It's not; but I do appreciate Pomme de Guerre's attempt to be helpful about substitute ingredients that produce a crab-like mouth feel.

                      1. re: AdinaA

                        Thanks for your replies. Why is it not kosher? It is not a shark. I appreciate the education.

                        1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                          I researched and found that it is likely due to its scales (or lack of the proper form of them.) Is this correct?

                          1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                            Yep. Monkfish lacks scales (or at least, discernible ones). Kosher fish require scales that can be removed without tearing the skin. They also require fins, but I'm not aware of any fish that lacks fins while having the proper sort of scales.

                  2. Use rockfish (striped bass) which if fresh does not have a fishy taste. Bake it and let cool then use a fork to slightly break apart and simulate lump crab meat. Combine with egg, worcester sauce, ground saltiness, mayo and a little yellow mustard and old bay seasoning.. Form into paddies and deep fry in butter mixed with veg oil till brown.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: dining with doc

                      But if I were to use a fish like striped bass to get the right texture, how would it approximate the taste of crab cakes? Wouldn't it taste like any other fishcake?

                      1. re: helou

                        Others who are more familiar with the taste of crab can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think surimi (what all those fake crab & shrimp are made of) tastes like crab anyway; it's just shaped like crab legs. I never really had crab years ago when I ate traif, but I did have shrimp, and believe me, the fake shrimp isn't even close. It's just shrimp-shaped bland, rubbery fish, as is the fake crab. (Well, crab-shaped, instead of shrimp-shaped.)

                        1. re: helou

                          the other ingredients will make it taste and look like a crab cake. btw, kosher in house but non kosher out of house so I have eaten great crab cakes. this is the closest you are going to get. the fake crab meat is nothing like blue crab meat used in a traditional crab cake and is more like alaskan king crab meat.

                          1. re: dining with doc

                            traditional crab cake>>>whose tradition? Blue crab is not universally used. many use super lump or dungeoness/snow crab. Snow crab is flakey like the surimi.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Not on the east coast. Blue crab is the standard!

                              1. re: dining with doc

                                well I live in New England on the east coast and many local festaurants use snow or dongeoness as it's readillyb available all year at a constant price. The 'traditional Maryland' crab cakes are made with Blue Crabs.

                                My SIL also born and raised in Connecticut only uses super lump, no claw meat.

                      2. To build on what the others said, from what I've heard it's not a crabcake without Old Bay seasoning. Old Bay seasoning is fantastic on potatoes and a number of other things and to make dips.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: CloggieGirl

                          Looping this thread around itself, Old Bay, the standard for crab seasoning (great on tuna salad too) was developed by a Jewish immigrant:


                        2. If you are going to try it out, I recommend going with the "crab flakes" vs crab legs. As opposed to the legs which are rolled sheets of processed pollock, they are actually in a chunk form and a lot easier to work with. One of my favorite croquets for passed canapes is a thai version in which we diced the crab and combine with panko, mayo (for binding), sirachi (to balance the super sweet) and tiny strands of kefir leaf (lime zest could work in a pinch). We roll them small for single bite passings, but I suppose that these would work equally well in larger versions. They turn out crunchy, flavorful and with a dab of lemongrass aioli and micro-green cilantro (sorry julia) it just off the beaten track enough to raise some eyebrows and wet some lips. BTW, 80% of treif sushi joints out there use this stuff too as it's 1/4th the price of the real thing.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: gotcholent

                            It's true that many non-kosher places will use surimi, but have you ever known a non-kosher restaurant or caterer to use it in crabcakes? I've never seen it.

                            1. re: MiriamWoodstock

                              It is often used as a filler in crabcakes and crabmeat stuffing for fish and shellfish. It is CHEAPER. My MIL does not keep kosher and will send a dish back in a restaurant when served the phoney crab in stuffing or seafood salad. She can immediately taste the difference and knows the textural differences as well.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                I agree. It shows up more and more . luckily it is easily detectable.

                            2. re: gotcholent

                              This sounds very tasty and intriguing. Do you add an egg? Then are the pan fried? Also, how do you make lemon grass aioli, and what do you do with the dilantro - is it in the aioli?

                              1. re: helou

                                It is fun, and in my experience really well received by both kosher and non-kosher crowds. There is enough else going on to distract you from the fact that it's a faux product. Yes on the eggs. Pan frying would certainly work....I happen to get to play with large deep fryers, but there are may roads to roam:) As for the aioli, we normally make ours from scratch, but here is a good one, readily made with things already in the fridge.

                                1/4 cup mayo
                                2 teaspoons oj
                                2 small or 1 lg lemongrass -chopped and broken down
                                handful cilantro

                                In blender on high till smooth as can be.

                                The baby cilantro is partially for looks, but they normally come with the seed still attached, so it makes for a good anchor and gives a tiny crunch for a little extra mouth feel as well. A single leaf of cilantro would work with just as much grace.

                                1. re: gotcholent

                                  Thank you. Sounds yummy. I'll be trying this soon.

                            3. YES IT CAN and at 7 Mile Market In Baltimore (known for it's crab BTW!) it is done VERY well. Though I no longer eat the reasl things, I have in the past and the ones at &MM are quite good and taste GREAT! I think it maybe thanks to the use of Old Bay (which is Kosher BTW) If you ever get down there, try one! YUMMY! As for faux crab being used by the treif community, what do you think MOST seafood salad is made from? Oh yeah the seafood salad at 7MM is worth the trip:)

                              1. Try our recipe its really good and Using old bay seasoning and imitation crab in the filling transforms traditional gefilte fish into a gourmet starter appreciated by all. The spicy mayo adds a kick and is a great accompaniment to the fish cakes. The recipe works well without the imitation crab too.

                                Gefilte fish ‘crab’ cakes

                                serves: 12
                                prep: 15 minutes


                                1 roll gefilte fish defrosted
                                1 celery stalk finely diced
                                1 small red pepper finely diced
                                4 tablespoons chopped dill
                                8 sticks imitation crab (optional) chopped into bite size pieces
                                1 egg
                                ¼ cup mayonnaise
                                3 tablespoons old bay seasoning
                                2 cups panko bread crumbs for coating the fish
                                Oil for frying

                                preheat oven to 350 degrees
                                combine defrosted gefilte with celery, red pepper, dill, imitation crab, egg, mayonnaise, old bay seasoning
                                form into patties and coat with panko bread crumbs
                                pour exactly enough oil in frying pan to coat the bottom of the pan, heat on medium heat
                                place patties in frying pan and fry for 2-3 minutes per side; just to get a golden brown color
                                place patties on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in oven uncovered for 35-40 minutes

                                Spicy mayo sauce

                                A great condiment that can be used for fish, chicken, sushi or salad

                                1 cup mayonnaise
                                2 tablespoons honey
                                2 tablespoon old bay seasoning
                                1/4 cup hot sauce

                                Mix ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BitayavonMagazine

                                  Thank you! In fact, thank you everyone who replied.

                                  Well, I've got Old Bay Seasoning on my shopping list so it looks like I know what I'll make for the dagim part of "Basar v'dagim" for Shabbos this week.

                                  1. re: BitayavonMagazine

                                    This sounds SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Good! I can not wai tto try it. THANK YOU!

                                  2. I imagine if you combine a flaky fish like cod, which is good in fishcakes, with the surimi (flakes as mentioned), you will get something approximating the consistency and taste of non-kosher crab cakes. Go easy on the bread crumbs and use plenty of moisture. As others mentioned, Old Bay is what makes the flavor. Crab cakes in most restaurants will not taste that crabby anyway. Serve with a home made tartar sauce including mayo, shallots, chopped and strained capers, chives, parsley, and lemon juice. There are a a lot of recipes online for fish cakes which are good in their own right. In my experience, krab is much better before it's cooked, such as in a green or mayo based salad.