Pan-Fried Asian-Style Crab Burgers

Shawn McClain of Spring and the new Green Zebra in Chicago blends Dungeness crab with Korean kimchi and panko (Japanese bread crumbs) to transform American crab cakes into Asian-style burgers.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups kimchi, drained and chopped, plus 2 tablespoons of the pickling juice (see Note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons very finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds Dungeness or lump crabmeat, picked over
  • 1 cup Japanese panko or plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (see Note) or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Belgian endives, halved crosswise and cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned on a mandoline or shredded
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 slices of brioche or 6 split brioche or Portuguese rolls, lightly toasted

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the mascarpone until blended. Add 1/2 cup of the drained kimchi, two-thirds of the minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the ginger. Fold in the crabmeat and 1/2 cup of the <em>panko</em> or plain dry bread crumbs. Pat the crabmeat mixture into 6 burgers, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the crab burgers are chilled and firm, about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the lime juice, <em>sambal oelek,</em> mustard, lime zest and the remaining minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the endives with the carrot, the remaining 1 cup of kimchi and 2 tablespoons of the pickling juice.

  3. Spread the remaining <em>panko</em> on a plate and coat the burgers. In a very large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

  4. Spread the mayonnaise on the toasted brioche. Set the crab burgers on the brioche toast and top with the kimchi slaw. Close the crab burger sandwiches and serve.

Make Ahead

The uncooked crab burgers, spicy mayonnaise and kimchi slaw can be refrigerated separately overnight.


Kimchi (spicy pickled and fermented cabbage) and sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili-garlic sauce, are both available at Asian markets and specialty shops.

Contributed By Photo © Tina Rupp Published August 2004

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