Soft Shell Crab in Black Pepper Sauce

Cook Time 40 minutes

Servings 4


4 soft shell crab, defrosted and clean, remove the gills

2 cups tempura flour

1 cup cold soda water

3 ice cubes

Vegetable oil, for frying

For the Black Pepper Sauce

50g butter, softened

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3 sprigs curry leaves

2 tbsp cracked black peppercorn

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

4 tbsp oyster sauce

70ml chicken stock or water

50g ginger, peeled cut into batons

2 tsp sugar

3 tbsp vegetable oil


First make the black pepper sauce, heat a wok or frypan over high heat, then add the veg oil and fry the curry leaf. Then add the garlic, shallots and ginger and fry until fragrant but do not brown. Once the shallot, garlic and ginger are soft add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5mins over medium-low heat. The sauce will slightly thicken, add the butter and mix through the sauce. Turn the heat off and set it aside.

In a medium bowl mix the tempura flour with soda water, whisk till thick batter consistency and add the ice cube. The ice will make the batter crunchy, as the cold batter hits the oil it will seal immediately and crisp the flour.

Heat veg oil in a pot or wok to 180°C. You can test by placing wooden chopsticks into the oil and if bubbles foam from the chopsticks then the oil is ready to go.

Coat the soft shell crabs well in the batter and gently place them in the oil to fry, you may need to do this in 2 lots. Fry until golden and crispy then remove from the oil and drain on some paper towel.

To serve, place the crab on a plate and drizzle the pepper sauce over the soft shell crab. Garnish with fried curry leaf.


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