Dish is designed to  be part of a banquet.

Skill level

Average: 2.3 (18 votes)


  • 1.5 kg (about 3) blue swimmer crabs 
  • 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil 
  • 6 dried red chillies, seeded 
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 4 cm-piece ginger, finely chopped 
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp toban djan (chilli bean sauce)* 
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (shaoxing)* or dry sherry 
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce, plus extra, to serve 
  • 2 tsp caster sugar 
  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang)* or rice wine vinegar 
  • 125 ml (½ cup) chicken stock or water 
  • 1 tsp cornflour 
  • sliced red chillies, coriander leaves and steamed rice, to serve

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.


Clean and prepare crabs. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add chillies, garlic, ginger and spring onions. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add crabs and toss to coat in chilli mixture. Stir in the toban djan, rice wine, soy, sugar, black vinegar and stock. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until crabs are just cooked.

Combine cornflour and 2 tsp water in a small bowl. Add to crab mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Scatter with chillies and coriander, and serve with rice and extra soy sauce.

* Toban djan (chilli bean sauce), Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) and Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) are available from Asian food shops. Toban djan and Chinese rice wine are also available from selected supermarkets.

DRINK Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Scotland ($6, 500ml)

As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 10, pg68.

Photography by Derek Swalwell.