Recipe courtesy of Ching-He Huang

Chile 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!
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Ginger 'Juice'

2 cups hot water

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 (1 1/2 by 1 1/2-inch) chunk Rock sugar or 2 to 3 tablespoons soft brown sugar

Chile Sauce

9 ounces water

5 tablespoons tomato ketchup

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch


4 tablespoons groundnut oil

6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

3 medium red chiles, seeded and finely sliced

1 pound freshly cooked crab, inedible parts discarded, claws removed and cracked, legs removed, remaining shell chopped into quarters

5 ounces water

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Egg Noodles

11 ounces fine egg noodles or dried yellow Shi wheat flour noodles*, cooked, drained and drizzled with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking

1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 spring onions, sliced lengthwise, divided

Handful fresh cilantro leaves and stalks, roughly chopped, divided


  1. For the juice: 
  2. Heat the water in a small pan and add the ginger pieces. Bring to the boil, add the rock sugar, and let the juice simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, before serving.
  3. For the sauce: 
  4. Add the water, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch, to a bowl, and mix well. Set aside. 
  5. For the crab: 
  6. Heat a wok over a high heat and add the groundnut oil. Add the garlic, ginger, chiles, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the crab to the wok and stir-fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chile sauce, and cook for 1 minute, then add the water and lime juice.
  7. For the egg noodles: 
  8. Combine the noodles and the chile flakes and adjust their seasonings with the soy sauce. Toss the ingredients, and then stir in half of the spring onions and half of the chopped cilantro. 
  9. To serve, plate the crab with the egg noodles and top with the remaining spring onion slices and cilantro. Serve immediately with a shot glass of Ginger 'Juice.'

Cook’s Note

*Can be found at specialty Asian markets. 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".