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Chilli Crab

Since I came back from Shanghai, I have had an obsession with crabs and, inspired by my trip, I invented this dish. It is not quite a traditional recipe and you may be surprised by the use of ketchup, but it provides a delicious sweetness, which complements the spicy kick. Enjoy!


  • 4 tablespoons groundnut oil

  • 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated root ginger

  • 3 medium red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced

  • 500g freshly cooked crab, inedible parts discarded, claws removed and cracked, legs removed, remaining shell chopped into quarters

  • 150ml/5fl oz water

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 2 spring onions, sliced lengthways

  • 1 large handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, roughly chopped

  • For the chilli crab sauce

  • 250ml/9fl oz water

  • 5 tablespoons tomato ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

  • For the egg noodles

  • 300g/11oz fine egg noodles or dried yellow shi wheat flour noodles, cooked and drained and drizzled with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking

  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce


  • 1.

    Put all the ingredients for the chilli crab sauce into a bowl and mix well. Put to one side.

  • 2.

    Heat a wok over a high heat and add the groundnut oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the crabs to the wok and stir-fry for a further 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chilli crab sauce and cook for 1 minute, then add the water and lime juice.

  • 3.

    Add the noodles and chilli flakes and season with the soy sauce. Toss to mix, then stir in half the spring onions and coriander.

  • 4.

    To serve, top with the remaining spring onion slices and chopped coriander and serve immediately.

  • 5.

    Tip: You can serve this recipe as a starter without the addition of the noodles and I like serving this dish washed down with some homemade ginger juice – which is a real balance of “Yin” and “Yang” as crabs are “Yin” and ginger is “Yang”.

  • 6.

    To serve drink with a shot glass of Ginger Juice.



  • To help vegetables cook in the wok, add a splash or two of water to help create some “steam” whilst stir frying.

  • Use msg free products where possible.

  • Groundnut oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, sunflower oil or corn oil.

  • A large number of dishes can be adapted to suit vegetarians. Look out for where you can substitute the meat for tofu or vegetables and use vegetarian sauces.

  • Use low sodium soy sauce where possible
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