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Fonio Crusted Crab Cakes

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Cook Time

December 16, 2021 by Amethyst Ganaway

Crabs from the Senegal River are similar to the Dungeness variety, large and plump with sweet and tender flesh. In the northern city of Saint-Louis, they are usually cooked whole in a spicy tomato broth (coti). That dish is full of flavor and fun to eat with your hands, but there is so much work involved in getting the meat out of the crab shells.

An easier way to enjoy crab is by making these wonderful crab cakes. You can either steam crabs and pull the meat out of them ahead of time, or simply buy fresh crab meat from your supermarket or fishmonger.


  • large green plantain (about 10 oz.), peeled and roughly chopped
  • tablespoons red palm oil or vegetable oil
  • ⅓  cup Yolélé fonio
  • tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pound lump crabmeat
  • ¼  cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  • 01 .  

    In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the plantains until very soft, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain the plantains, and then transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of palm oil and mash the plantains until smooth.

  • 02 .  

    Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the fonio with ⅓ cup water, bring to a boil, and cook, covered, until tender, 2 minutes. Remove the fonio from the heat and let stand, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the cooked fonio to the plantains along with the ½ teaspoon lime juice, the cilantro, onion, and egg and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold the crabmeat into the plantains, and then shape the dough into twelve 1-inch thick patties.

  • 03 .  

    Sprinkle the flour over the remaining fonio and then dredge each crab cake in the fonio. Transfer the crab cakes to a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

  • 04 .  

    In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons palm oil and 2 tablespoons lime juice with the ginger, and season with salt and pepper.

  • 05 .  

    Pour enough vegetable oil to come ¼ -inch up the side of a 12-inch skillet and heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375°. Working in batches, add the crab cakes to the oil and fry, flipping once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack set over paper towels to drain for 3 minutes, and then serve hot with the ginger dipping sauce and lime wedges.


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