• Alaskan king crab with black pepper, chilli and lime (China Doll)Source: China Doll

I use Alaskan king crab legs in this dish. They’ve got loads of flavour and are easy eating as you don’t have to work hard to get at the crab meat. The crab legs are coated in a buttery peppery Chinese sauce.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (21 votes)


  • 1 kg raw (green) Alaskan king crab legs (see Note)
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • ⅓ cup bonito flakes, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 4 eggwhites, lightly whisked
  • 200 g potato starch (see Note)
  • 150 g unsalted butter, roughly cubed
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped garlic
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
  • 2 tsp grated light palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce (see Note)
  • 2 limes, juiced, plus cheeks to serve
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced spring onions
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded, julienned
  • 2 spring onions, julienned

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Steam the crab legs until the shell changes colour and the meat begins to turn opaque. Remove and allow to cool enough to handle.

Chop the crab legs into 4 cm lengths. Use a pair of scissors to snip along the length of the shell to make picking out the meat easy later on.

Crush the sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle. Combine with the bonito flakes, dried chilli and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan to 180ºC.

Coat the crab pieces in the eggwhite, then in the potato starch and shake off the excess starch. Deep-fry the crab, in batches, for about 3 minutes or until crisp all over. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Heat the butter in a wok over medium heat till it starts to foam and turn a light nut brown. Add 80 ml (⅓ cup) oil, the garlic and chopped chilli and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the Shaoxing and cook for 15 seconds.

Add the sesame mix, sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Check for seasoning and balance.

Add the crab and thinly sliced spring onion and toss quickly to coat the crab in the sauce.

Transfer to a large platter, garnish with the julienned chilli and spring onion and serve with lime cheeks.


Chef’s note

• Alaskan king crab legs are available from most fishmongers but may need to be ordered in advance.  

• Potato starch can be found in the flour or baking aisle of most supermarkets and from Asian grocers.

• Mushroom soy sauce is a dark soy sauce flavoured with straw mushrooms, available from Asian grocers. You can replace with light soy sauce.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel


Frank Shek is the head chef at China Doll. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.

Get more recipes from China Doll here.