Kataifi Crab Cakes with Cajun Mayo

From Chris Halpin

2012 Jul/Aug

Kataifi (kuh-tuh-EE-fee), although a bit of a tongue twister, is simply shredded phyllo and can be found in any Middle Eastern or Greek food store. I like to use this instead of the traditional bread crumb coating. It’s much faster, with less mess. You bake them all at the same time, instead of having to fry them off in batches. Best of all, they have a wow factor to them, as they look like sculpted golden nests.

A few years ago I was playing with my crab cake recipe and discovered that using instant mashed potatoes (yes, really!) allowed me to use the crab juices as well as the crabmeat, which intensifies the overall flavour. Try them with the Cajun Mayo and I am sure you’ll agree that these are crab cakes to remember.


  • 1 ear of corn on the cob
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small cooking onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 small red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 200 g. cans crab meat, with liquid from can
  • 1/2 t. dried sage
  • 1 t. white pepper
  • 2 T. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt to taste
  • 1 c. instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 pkg. kataifi pastry (shredded phyllo pastry)
  • 1/2 c. melted clarified butter


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the husk from the corn, and with a sharp knife, cut the bottom of the cob off flat. Pour the oil into your hand and evenly coat the corn, place over a hot grill and roast the corn evenly until it’s tender, about 10 minutes. After the corn is cool enough to handle, place upright on a chopping board, and, with a sharp knife, cut away the kernels.

In a pan over medium heat, add the butter, along with the garlic, diced onion and red pepper, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Put the corn, sautéed vegetables, crab meat with liquid, sage, white pepper, parsley, egg, and salt into a large bowl and mix well. Sprinkle the potato flakes over top and mix well.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out some crab mixture, place it in your hands and form it into a patty. Take several strands of the kataifi, about 12 inches long, and wrap the crab patty. Repeat this with the rest of the crab filling and the kataifi. Arrange the crab cakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and, with a brush, dab each of them with the butter. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven when the pastry is golden-brown, serve with the Cajun mayo. Makes 24 cakes.


Cajun Mayo:

  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 T. whipping cream
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. finely chopped green onion
  • 2 T. capers, chopped
  • 1 T. Mexican chile powder
  • hot sauce to taste


Mix the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use: