Copycat Crab Casserole from Hunan Chinese Buffet is a combination of crabmeat, cabbage, celery, sweet red bell peppers, mild cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, soy sauce, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a touch of seasoning. The Copycat Crab Casserole from Hunan Chinese Buffet is then baked to bubbly perfection in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes.
If you live near the Olive Branch, Mississippi or Memphis area chances are you may have visited the Hunan Chinese Buffet on Goodman Road, it’s the Mississippi hot spot for lunch after church and always packed. There’s a Crab Casserole on their American side of the buffet table that my mom loves so much. Every Sunday after church, she piles a little on her plate and devours it, proclaiming it to be good.
I decided while my mom was at work, I would make the Copycat version of Hunan Chinese Buffet and surprise her tonight; it turned out delicious. It only took me about 40 minutes from start to finish to make it’s so quick and straightforward to put together and only needs to bake for 30 minutes.
Let’s talk a bit about the ingredient crab, at Hunan they use imitation crab meat; now, some of you are wondering what exactly imitation crab meat is? Is it fake meat? What is it made from? Some of you think oh, heck no, I’m not about to eat imitation crab meat, heck to the NO!
For those of you wondering what imitation crab meat is made from: Imitation Crabmeat is processed seafood made of starch and finely pulverized white fish, aka surimi, then shaped and cured to resemble the meat of snow crab or Japanese spider crab. Compared to real crab meat, imitation crab has less fat and calories. However, it may also contain sodium, food coloring, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Pyrophosphate, gluten, and sugar.
Now, what are my thoughts on this? I think everyone should make their own food choices; however, I like to keep you informed on ingredients Y’all; as you know from following this blog. By all means, if you enjoy imitation crab and it is more cost-efficient, who am I to tell you to pay through the nose for lump crabmeat? Use either-or.
In the recipe below, you can easily use either lump crabmeat or imitation crabmeat whichever fits your budget, or you enjoy most Y’all. At the Hunan Buffet, they use the imitation crab meat, and my mom loves it, so for her, I have made my Copycat Crab Casserole using imitation crab meat, you can use whichever you prefer in yours.
Suggested Canned Lump Crab Meat to use
Miller’s Select Claw Crab Meat
Crown Prince Fancy White Crab Meat
Chicken of the Sea Fancy Crab Meat
Consul Crab Meat
Bumble Bee Crab Meat
Phillips Foods Super Lump Crab Meat
Lump Blue Crab Meat
Reese Fancy 15% Leg Crabmeat
Vital Choice Wild Dungeness Crab
Different types of canned crab meat
- Colossal Lump Crab Meat– it is the master of them all and is simultaneously the most expensive one in the market. The reason why it gets so heavy on your pocket is the extinction of blue crabs, which are quite challenging to find out nowadays.
- Jumbo Lump Crab Meat – this one fits like an excellent dining option. You will here have to pay more for it as it is the big hunk of white meat that comes with very few cartilage and shells. They take extra care and remove this unwanted part before packing the crab can.
- Backfin also called the Backfin Lump– This is extracted from the same body parts of the crab-like jumbo one, but here the lumps are broken. In this, you will find some large as well as some small pieces of the meat. You will also have more shells and cartilages mixed in.
- White Meat or Special – This one is quite a great combination of jumbo lump blue crab along with some claws and is generally flaked. As the claws are present, it has got some sweet-filled flavor in it.
- Claw Meat- this one has got a rich, delicious flavor that you won’t find in other parts
Copycat Crab Casserole from Hunan Chinese Buffet
- 16 ounces of lump or imitation crab meat
- 2 cups of shredded raw cabbage
- 1/4 of a cup of thinly sliced celery
- 1/8 of a cup of diced red bell peppers
- 1 and 1/4 cup of mild cheddar cheese
- 8- ounces of cream cheese softened
- 1/4 of a cup of sour cream
- 1/4 of a cup mayonnaise
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 of a teaspoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- a pinch of salt
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- In a medium glass bowl combine crab meat. shredded cabbage, celery, diced red bell peppers, 1 cup of mild cheddar cheese, softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, juice of 2 lemons, soy sauce, garlic powder, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- Prepare a glass baking dish with cooking spray, then add combined ingredients to baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese, then cover the baking dish with foil.
- Place in a preheated 350-degree oven and bake 30 minutes.
- Serve while still hot with crackers, bread, or by itself as a side dish to your meal.
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