Crab Cakes with Lemongrass Mayonnaise

Though chef Hans Röckenwagner makes homemade mayonnaise for this recipe; you can substitute 1 1/4 cups of jarred mayonnaise blended with 1 tablespoon of minced lemongrass, from the tender white bulb, and 1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger; let sit for 30 minutes.Plus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips

Crab Cakes with Lemongrass Mayonnaise
Photo: © Michael Weschler
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins



  • 1 cup canola oil

  • One 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced

  • 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon mirin

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 1/2 cups honeydew melon balls


  • 3 tablespoons minced scallions

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

  • 1 1/2 cups panko or coarse dry bread crumbs, plus more for coating

  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over

  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a saucepan, combine the canola oil, ginger and lemongrass. Cook over moderately low heat until small bubbles appear around the side, 10 minutes. Let cool, then strain. In a blender or mini food processor, combine the mirin, rice vinegar, dry mustard and egg yolks; process until smooth. With the machine on, add the infused oil in a thin stream and process until emulsified. Season with salt and white pepper.

  2. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, vinegar, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, crushed red pepper and bay leaf and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. In a heatproof bowl, carefully toss the melon balls with the brine and let cool.

  3. In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup of the lemongrass mayonnaise, the scallions, basil, cilantro and the 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs. Add the crab and season with salt and white pepper. Pat the mixture into 8 cakes about 3/4 inch thick; coat with bread crumbs. Set the cakes on a wax paper-lined plate.

  4. In a nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half of the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden, 6 minutes; drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and crab cakes. Set 2 crab cakes on each plate and add a dollop of the mayonnaise. Discard the bay leaf from the melon balls and serve in small bowls.

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