This is a fusion of Indian pakora and Japanese tempura, and I serve it with a green chutney, inspired by the Thai nahm jim dipping sauce.






Skill level

Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

What I love about soft shell crab is that you don't need to pick it out of the shell, so you can eat the whole thing. It's as delicious as eating a big crab but less fuss! 


  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander, optional
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, optional
  • 1¼ cups soda water, chilled
  • 8 soft-shell crabs


Green dipping sauce

  • 50 g coriander leaves
  • 50 g garlic paste
  • 120 ml (6 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 40 ml (2 tbsp) fish sauce
  • 40 ml (2 tbsp) water
  • 40 g jaggery (see Note)

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.


  1. Heat oil (about 10 cm deep) to 180°C in a large pot.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and spices, if using. Make a well in the centre. Pour soda water over flour mixture, and, using a large fork, gently combine (the batter should remain slightly lumpy and should have the consistency of heavy cream).
  3. Dip two crabs into batter, letting excess batter drip back into bowl, and carefully slip into the hot oil, top-side down. Fry 1½ minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp. Repeat with remaining crabs.
  4. Meanwhile, blend sauce ingredients together. Serve pakora with sauce.