Wok-tossed mud crab

Wok-tossed mud crab

The Food of Vietnam
Alan Benson

Sate sauce is one of the best sauces you can serve with mud crab. Don’t mistake it for the Indonesian satay peanut sauce; it is completely different. Vietnamese sate sauce is made from slowly cooking a variety of dried seafoods with garlic, spring onions, dried chilli and chilli oil. I always make up a lot, so I can keep a bottle of it in my fridge for a quick stir-fry, or to stir through noodle soups.


Quantity Ingredient
2 live mud crabs, about 400 g each (see tip)
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
potato starch or cornflour, for dusting
3 red asian shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 tablespoons Sate sauce
3 spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
2 long red chillies, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  1. To prepare your crabs humanely, place them in the freezer for 1 hour to put them to sleep. Remove the upper shell of each crab, pick off the gills, which look like little fingers, and discard them. Clean the crabs under running water and drain. Working one at a time, place each crab on its stomach and chop it in half with a heavy cleaver. Now chop each half into four 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.
  2. Half-fill a large wok or deep saucepan with oil and heat to 200°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 5 seconds.
  3. Dust the crab pieces with the potato starch, shaking off the excess. Deep-fry the crab in batches for 3 minutes, turning over once, until golden brown. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towels. Remove the oil, reserving 2 tablespoons, and clean out the wok.
  4. Heat the reserved oil in the wok, then add the shallot and garlic and fry over medium heat for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Now add the sate sauce and stir for 1 minute. Add the crab and spring onions and toss, making sure to coat the crab well.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the chilli. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and finger bowls.


  • Instead of mud crab you can also use blue swimmer or spanner crab.
The Food of Vietnam
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