Salt and Pepper Crab

Selecting our live crabs at the store - they were feisty!
One of my favourite chefs is Luke Nguyen.  His recipes, to me, are usually quite accessible - even though he lives thousands of kilometers from where I do, I am lucky enough to access to some excellent quality ingredients in Ottawa.

D and I were watching an episode of his show (Luke Nguyen's Vietnam) and saw this recipe and just had to try it.  I have never cooked crab before, so thought it would be best to experiment on these little guys.  The recipe turned out great! 

Here is a link to Luke's recipe.  I am including it here as well.  Delicious first foray into cooking crab - eat, rinse, repeat!


- Beware of the hot oil when you put the crabs in the wok!  I had a few tiny burns on my face from the hot oil leaping out of the wok in a pretty spectacular arterial-like spray.  The result was only a few scabs and a stinging eye for a few days.  Be careful please!
- I used blue swimmer crabs that we bought live at our local mega Asian grocery store.  They were small, so we bought enough to make up about 1 lb (enough for 2 people)

Salt and Pepper Red Crab: Cua Rang Muoi

Total Time:  1 hr 33 min

Prep:  30 min
Inactive Prep:  1 hr 0 min
Cook:  3 min
Level:  Intermediate
Yield:  4 servings


  • Salt and Pepper Seasoning Mix:
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fine white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 (14 ounce/400 g each) live crabs, blue swimmer or mud crab
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Potato starch, for dusting
  • 3 red Asian shallots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), cut into 2-inch/5 cm lengths
  • 2 long red chiles, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • Serving suggestion: Jasmine rice.


In a bowl, mix salt, white pepper, sugar, and five spice pepper together.


To prepare your crabs humanely, place them in the freezer for 1 hour to put them to sleep, or submerge them in an ice bath for 5 minutes

Dispatched and ready for cooking
Remove the upper shell of the crab, pick off the gills, which look like little fingers, and discard them. Clean the crab under running water and drain.

Place the crab on its stomach and chop the crab in 1/2 with a heavy cleaver.

Now chop each 1/2 into 4 pieces, chopping each piece after each leg.

With the back of the cleaver gently crack each claw - this makes it easier to extract the meat.

Heat the oil in a wok to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 5 seconds.



I served the crab with a bowl of steamed pak choi with ginger, garlic and sesame oil.  Topped the crabs with sliced fresh red chillies and sliced green onions.


  1. These look so good. my seafood hating husband would freak. Next time, let's make it at my house and torture him! :)

  2. I bet he might change his mind if he tasted them... :-)