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Cuban Crab Rolls recipe - Tampa Style Deviled Crab Croquette

courtesy of the Cocina Cubana Club founded by Pascual Perez & Sonia Martinez


Cuban deviled crab rolls

In 1920, Cubans working in the cigar factories of Ybor City went on strike. To make money, some began selling deviled crab croquettes on the street to their fellow strikers and others. The strike ended 10 months later, but crab rolls still remain a Tampa favorite to this day.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes

  • Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins (4 hours inactive)

  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Croquette Dough Ingredients:

3 loaves stale American Bread - no crusts
1 loaf stale Cuban bread - ground very fine and sifted
1 level tbsp paprika

1 tsp salt

Soak American bread in water 15 minutes. Remove, squeeze until almost dry. Add Cuban bread gradually until dough is formed. Add paprika, salt. Mix well. Make ball from dough. Place in fridge about 3 hours


Crabmeat Filling Ingredients:

5 tbsp oil

3 onions finely chopped
red or green pepper finely chopped (or both)
4 garlic cloves mashed
1 level tsp crushed red hot pepper (Italian style)
2 bay leaves

tsp sugar
1 level tsp salt

1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 lb can fresh crab meat - claws - picked over and shredded



Fry onion, pepper(s), garlic, hot pepper in oil for 15 mins. (Very slowly) add bay leaves, sugar, salt, tomato paste. Stir. Cover and cook 15 minutes on low heat. Add crabmeat. Cook 10 minutes and then uncover. Keep in fridge 2 hours.

Take about 3 tablespoons dough. Press in the palm of your hand. Add 1 tbsp crab mix. Seal like croquette with 2 pointed ends.

Dip into following mixture:

2 eggs well beaten with cup milk, salt, dash black pepper. Mix 1cup cracker meal and cup flour. Roll croquettes first in cracker/flour, then in egg mix, then in cracker/flour again. Refrigerate 2 hours (Never get the idea this is not something you dash off at the last minute!). Fry in deep fat until brown. Serves about 12.

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Best directions on how to make authentic Ybor City deviled crab roll cakes.

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