60 g (2 oz/½ stick) butter
1 onion, finely diced
6 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dredging
450 ml (16 fl oz/1¾ cups) full-fat (whole) milk
3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
200 g (7 oz) crab meat (all white, all fake, or a mix of white, fake, and/or dark)
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
small pinch of chilli powder
2 eggs, beaten
250 g (9 oz/scant 6 cups) panko breadcrumbs
oil, for deep-frying – about 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups)
½ bunch of chives, finely chopped, to garnish


Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Fry until soft, then whisk in
the flour and cook on a low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until the roux
becomes amber and aromatic. Add the milk in a slow, steady stream,
whisking constantly, then add the crème fraîche or sour cream and bring to a
low boil. Stir in the crab meat, salt, pepper and chilli powder, then taste and
adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Keep cooking the white sauce for 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until
very thick. Pour out into a container, transfer to the fridge and leave to cool

When the crabby béchamel is totally cold, it will solidify into a kind of thick
paste. Rub a little oil into your hands, grab little blobs of the paste and shape
into croquettes about 5 cm (2 in) long and 2½ cm (1 in) across (Japanese
croquettes are bigger and more oblong than typical Spanish

Roll the croquettes in flour, 3 or 4 at a time, until completely coated. Dunk

them in the beaten egg, then roll them in the panko to coat completely (tip:
use a slotted spoon or fork to transfer them from the egg to the panko to keep
your fingers from going gummy).

Place your croquettes on a tray and put back into the fridge for 15–20
minutes to firm up again before frying. If you’re not cooking these
immediately, freeze them in a single layer on a tray – once hard, transfer
them to a container and they will last in the freezer for several months.
Pour your oil into a very deep, wide saucepan or pot, to come no higher than
halfway up the sides and, if cooking from the fridge, heat the oil to 180ºC
(350ºF). If cooking from frozen, heat the oil to 160ºC (320ºF).

Carefully drop the croquettes into the hot oil and fry for 6–7 minutes (longer from frozen)
until the crust is golden brown. You may have to turn them over once during
cooking to ensure even colour. Retrieve the croquettes with a slotted spoon
and drain on kitchen paper. Garnish with chives and serve with ponzu .