Crab Thai Curry, Thai-Spiced Crabcakes, and Sweet Chili Crab Salad

Recipe courtesy of Josh Marks

Ryan tried to sabotage Josh in the elimination challenge by giving him canned crab instead of fresh, but Josh turned out this Thai Trio that the judges loved. All three judges loved the heat and the spices in the dish, putting Josh in the top two for the challenge, making him a team captain for the next event.

This recipe and many others can be found in the official MasterChef Season 3 Cookbook, coming soon!


For the curry paste

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 Fresno chiles, seeded and diced
  • 1-inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cilantro sprigs with stems, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

For the crabcakes

  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • Four 4-ounce containers lump crabmeat, drained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Red curry powder
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the curried crab

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1-inch long piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Fresno chile, diced
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine
  • One 13.6-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred to blend
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Dried hot red chile flakes, to taste
  • Red curry powder, to taste
  • One 4-ounce container lump crabmeat, drained
  • Large pinch minced fresh cilantro
  • Fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced for garnish

For the salad

  • 2 cups (packed) watercress, coarsely chopped
  • Half 4-ounce can lump crabmeat, drained
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, smashed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


To make curry paste

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large saute pan over medium heat. Add the lemongrass, chiles, ginger, garlic, shallot, and cilantro sprigs and sauté until the shallots and garlic are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until a smooth paste-like puree forms. Blend in the lime juice.

  3. Transfer the curry paste to a container, then cover and refrigerate until cold.

To make crabcakes

  1. Whisk the chili sauce, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl to blend. Whisk in the olive oil to blend.

  2. Set half of the sauce aside to serve as a dipping sauce for the crab cakes. Mix the remaining sauce with the chopped cilantro, then the eggs.

  3. Stir in the crab meat. Season the crab mixture with salt and pepper.

  4. Using a 3-inch diameter ring mold, form the crabmeat mixture into 4 crabcakes. Coat the crabcakes in the panko, then cover and refrigerate until cold.

  5. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat.

  6. Add the crab cakes and cook until they are golden brown and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with red curry powder.

To make curried crab

  1. Heat the oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, ginger, chile, shallot, and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add the curry paste and saute until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, and fish sauce and simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

  3. Season the sauce to taste with cayenne, chile flakes, and red curry powder. Stir in the crabmeat and cilantro.

To make salad

  1. Combine the watercress, crabmeat, and red bell pepper in a large bowl.

  2. Whisk the sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and basil leaves in a medium bowl to blend.

  3. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

To make rice

  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat.

  2. Stir in 1 cup jasmine rice, then cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

To serve

  1. Spoon the curried crab into four small bowls and set them in the center of four rectangular plates.

  2. Set 1 crabcake the side of the bowls on each plate.

  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat, then mound the salad on the opposite side of the plate.

  4. Garnish the curried crab with the sliced basil and the crab cakes with cilantro leaves.

  5. Serve immediately with the reserved dipping sauce and steamed rice.

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Crab Thai Curry, Thai-Spiced Crabcakes, and Sweet Chili Crab Salad