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Crab cakes and kimchi recipe

A spicy seafood starter accompanied by a South Korean favourite from Executive Chef Martyn Watkins.

Makes 12 crab cakes, serving six people


For the crab cakes
225g Welsh white crab meat
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 bunches coriander
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 slices of white bread, crusts removed and blitzed into breadcrumbs
2 limes, zested and juiced

For the kimchi
1 medium head Chinese cabbage
50g sea salt
1 tsp garlic, grated (5 to 6 cloves)
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated (7g)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 medium spring onions, cut into large slices
3 white onions, peeled and roughly chopped
4 red chillis
100g rice flour
50g caster sugar

To plate
Chilli sauce


For the crab cakes
1. Pick through the crab meat to ensure there is no shell present and put aside
2. In a bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients, lime juice and zest
3. Add the wet mixture with the crab meat, taking care not to break the meat down too much
4. Add the breadcrumbs and mix together gently
5. Allow to chill in the fridge for one hour
6. Form into 12 cakes
7. To cook, shallow fry in sunflower oil until golden brown

For the kimchi
1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters, then cut the cores from each piece. Finally, cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
2. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with 40g of the salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Add enough water to cover the cabbage, the put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Rinse the cabbage under cold water three times. Set aside to drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the spice paste: in a blender, blend the white onions, chillis, garlic, ginger and fish sauce. Stir in the gochujang paste – you can add more if you like it spicy!
5. In a pan, heat up 300ml of water add the sugar, rice flour and salt and cook out until thick and porridge like, it should look translucent, allow to cool, it should taste, sweet but salty.
6. Combine the porridge and spice mix together
7. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. Add the radish, carrots, spring onions and coriander.
8. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
9. Pack the kimchi into a 4 litre kilner-style jar. Press down on the kimchi until the brine (the liquid that comes out) rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least a one inch of space at the top. Seal the jar.
10. Place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow. Let the jar stand at cool room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for one to five days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid.
11. Check the kimchi once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean spoon to keep them submerged under the brine (this also releases gases produced during fermentation). Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You can eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two.
12. If you have some kimchi left over, it’ll keep for a few months refrigerated in the jar.

Plate up
1. Swipe some chilli sauce onto the plate
2. Chop the kimchi and allow to drain slightly. Then put in the centre of plate
3. Place two cooked crab cakes on top and garnish with the remaining coriander

Crab cakes and kimchi