• Mud crab with tamarind (Luke Nguyen's Food Trail)

Crab - the only dinner showstopper you can cook in 30 minutes or less!






Skill level

Average: 1.5 (25 votes)


  • 2-3 small-medium cooked mud crabs (about 1 kg)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 spring onions, white part only, bruised
  • 2 tbsp sweet plum sauce
  • Generous pinch sea salt
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced

Tamarind sauce

  • 125 ml (½ cup) tamarind water (see note)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar 

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.


For the tamarind sauce, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Using a cleaver or a large heavy knife, cut the crabs into quarters. 

Place a wok over high heat. When hot, add the oil and spring onions and cook for 20 seconds. Stir in the tamarind sauce and plum sauce. Add the crab pieces and toss to coat well. Add salt and chilli, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to infuse all flavours. Serve with finger bowls. 



•For tamarind water, soak 100 g tamarind pulp in 400 ml boiling water for 10 minutes. Break it up a little with a whisk, then stand until cool enough to handle. Using your hands, work the mixture into a thick paste. Push the mixture through a sieve and discard the solids. The tamarind water will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Luke Nguyen's Food Trail airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.