Neither just crab cakes nor just crab omelet, the Filipino crab cake omelet or Tortang Alimasag is the best of both worlds, plus more. By substituting the usual ingredients for ground soybeans or artichoke hearts and by using the right seasoning, you can enjoy this crispy Filipino dish. Serve it on a bun like you would a slider with a side of fries and ketchup.
Tortang Alimasag: Filipino Crab Cake Omelet [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil, plus 3-5 tablespoons for frying
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 medium potato (russet or red), peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 pound semi-firm tofu
- 1 1/2 cup okara (ground soybeans) or artichoke hearts
- 4 seaweed nori sheets, pulverized using a high-speed blender or food processor
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon black salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of Old Bay seasoning
- A pinch of pepper
- Heat medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once hot enough, pour 1 tablespoon of cooking oil into the pan. Sauté the garlic until slightly golden, followed by the onion and tomato. Add a pinch of sea salt to release the flavors of the three.
- Cover pan the, checking occasionally to make sure the potatoes won’t stick to the pan. If they’re beginning to, add a tablespoon of water and mix around then cover again.
- Once the onion has turned soft and translucent, the tomato has turned mushy, and potatoes have softened, turn off heat. Let sit until cool enough to touch.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk cornstarch, chickpea flour, and water.
- In a big bowl, place tofu, nori, and okara. Wash your hands thoroughly then crumble and mix the ingredients using your hands. Add the black salt, sea salt, Old Bay seasoning, and pepper. Mix well.
- Once the sautéed ingredients are cool enough to touch, transfer to the tofu mixture.
- Pour the corn starch-chickpea flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix again using your hands. You should have a burger-like texture that binds. If not, make more cornstarch-chickpea flour mixture, then add 1 tablespoon at a time. Be careful that you don’t over wet the ingredients. Because there are no raw eggs involved, you could taste and add more salt and/or black salt if needed.
- Wash hands then heat a medium-sized non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into the pan.
- With clean hands, grab a palm-size mixture and form into a patty then place on the pan to fry. Repeat steps until the pan is full with patties.
- Fry for 5 minutes each side. It’s best to flip over using a thin metal spatula so they won’t break.
- Repeat steps until all patties are fried. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with a side of ketchup. Garnish with rosemary (optional).