As we head into the festive season, I’m sharing my recipe for Bengali crab and cod cakes. This is a great little snack, and an ideal dish for a party, it can be useful to use up all the trimmings, if you had a big party. The crab cakes are slightly unusual in its use of raisins, but I have several good memories of having these as a child, this was our neighbour’s way of getting us to like fish as children!
- 300g cod fillet
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 200ml water
- 200g white crab meat
For the spice mix
- 25g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Dried breadcrumbs for coating
- Oil for deep frying
For the fish cakes
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 1 large beetroot, boiled and chopped in 1cm dices
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tablespoon raisins
Clean the cod fillet, remove the skin and cut into 4-5 even-sized pieces. Place them on a pan and add a couple of tablespoons of water. Add salt and turmeric and lightly poach on medium heat with the lid on, for about 5-6 minutes, till the fish pieces are cooked. Remove and pat them dry on a kitchen paper. Gently flake them using a fork and set aside. Reserve the liquid and reduce to get a concentrate.
To make the spice mix, roast all the ingredients and blend them together to a powder in a food processor.
To make the fish cakes, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the bay leaves and cumin seeds and when they release their flavour, add the onion and sauté till they become golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic pastes followed by the turmeric and chilli powder and crab meat, sauté for a minute. Now add the fish, ginger, green chillies and the mashed beetroot and stir gently to mix them with the spices. Add the reserved cooking liquid. Sprinkle the spice mix powder, add the raisins and coriander and mix well. Remove and leave to cool.
Divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape into balls. Dust them with the flour, dip in the beaten eggs and roll them in the breadcrumbs until thoroughly coated. Flatten slightly and deep fry in a deep-fat fryer or a deep saucepan for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve straight away.
Serve with salad and mustard mayonnaise.