Total time: About 35 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time
Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from "I Love Crab Cakes!" (William Morrow, $21.99, 160 pages) by Tom Douglas with Shelley Lance.
Curry paste and sambal oelek, a ground chili paste, can be found in Asian markets and well-stocked supermarkets.
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Southeast Asian red curry paste
2 green onions, white part only, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems
1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 pound Dungeness crabmeat, drained, picked clean of shell and lightly squeezed if wet
2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sambal oelek
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or regular basil
Peanut or canola oil for frying
For the crab cakes, whisk the eggs lightly in a large mixing bowl. Add the curry paste and whisk until completely blended. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the green onions, shallots, cilantro and ginger. When everything is well combined, gently stir in the crabmeat and mix well.
Spread 1 1/2 cups of panko in a wide shallow container. Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Shape the crab mixture into patties, laying them in the panko. Sprinkle as much of the remaining panko as needed to cover the tops. Cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes (these do not sit well overnight).
For the dipping sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of water with the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, sambal oelek, garlic, dill, mint and basil in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Place 2 large nonstick or cast-iron skillets (or use one pan and cook in batches) over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pans by about 1/8 inch. When the oil is hot, shake the excess panko from the crab cakes, add 4 to each pan and reduce the heat to medium. Fry until the cakes are golden- brown and heated through, turning once with a spatula to brown both sides, 3 to 5 minutes on a side. Reduce the heat as needed so they don't brown too quickly.
Drain on paper towels and serve with the dipping sauce.
Per serving: 249 calories; 15 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 17 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 96 mg. cholesterol; 798 mg. sodium.