Tempura Thai Style Soft Shell Crabs

A delicious Thai dinner in under 30 minutes!

Tempura Thai Style Soft Shell Crab

Live soft shell crabs cannot be found in Norcross so the next best thing is frozen. This particular product of frozen soft shell crab is all natural, no preservatives, fully dressed and live processed. These crabs were a medium size so 2-3 crabs are typical for each serving. Most Asian markets will carry this product or ones that are similar. Since this product is frozen, time will need to be set aside for thawing. These crabs are individually wrapped so it took about an hour on the counter to thaw 8 crabs. Gently unwrap the crab and rinse under cold water and pat dry. Since these are ‘soft-shell’, they are very delicate so handle with care.

Tempura is a typical Thai style of frying these crabs. It’s light and crunchy with no heavy batter to weigh you down. I chose not to deep fry these crabs but use a small amount of coconut oil in a sauté pan to cook them. You can use peanut oil if you don’t have coconut oil. However, coconut oil does give them a light hint of coconut flavoring. I also used rice flour to add to the crunchiness of the texture. You can use all-purpose flour if rice flour is not available. It is very important to let the excess batter drip off the crab before you fry them. A light coating is all that is needed to make these crispy crunchy.

Ginger Chili Sauce

1 cup of white wine

1 Tablespoon of honey

1 Tablespoon of soy sauce

1 Tablespoon of minced ginger

½ cup of sweet chili sauce (mae ploy)

3 Tablespoons of whipping cream

2 Tablespoons of butter, cut into cubes

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil the wine, honey, soy sauce and ginger. Boil until the sauce is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the sweet chili sauce and the whipping cream. Boil until sauce is reduced to half. Remove from heat and add the butter a little at a time, whisking until fully incorporated. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Tempura Soft Shell Crabs

8 soft shell crabs, thawed, rinsed & patted dry
3 Tablespoons of coconut oil (can substitute peanut oil)

2/3 cups of rice flour (can substitute all-purpose flour)

1/3 cornstarch

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

1 cup of water

In a sauté pan, heat the coconut oil on medium high heat. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients then slowly whisk in the water until the batter has a pancake like consistency to it. You might not need all the water to accomplish this so add the water a little at a time. Gently dip the crab into the batter and let the excess drain off before you place the crab into the heated sauté pan. Cover the pan with a splatter screen and fry the crabs about 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly golden brown. Drain crab on a paper towel lined plate and salt while the oil is still wet on the crab so the salt will stick to it.

Serve with hot cook rice.

Place a portion of the rice on a plate and top with 2-3 crabs. Pour the sauce over the crabs and serve.

I also served this dish with stir-fried sesame asparagus.

Serves 4

See also:

  • Smoked Goat Leg Tacos & Cemitas
  • Doi Maach - Yogurt Fish
  • Thai Grilled Flank Steak With Forbidden Rice Salad
  • Cajun Maque Choux

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