Crab and Prawn Wonton Laksa

A carefully homemade stock of crab shells and fresh Southeast Asian spices provides the base for Peter Gordon's tangy laksa
By Peter Gordon
Crab and Prawn Wonton Laksa
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: hard


  • 1.5 kg whole cooked crab
  • 2 medium-hot red chillies, cut in half
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 3 tsp dried shrimp paste, roughly chopped
  • 10 cm piece ginger, finely sliced
  • 10 cm piece galangal, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed with their skins on
  • 400 ml chopped tomatoes, tinned if desired
  • 6 lime leaves
  • 4 stems lemongrass, bashed

For the wontons

  • 150 g raw prawns, finely minced
  • 1 finger fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 120 g wonton wrappers
  • 12 bok choy, halved
  • 25 g coriander leaves
  • small handful mint leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.

2. Lay each crab, one at a time, on a chopping board and lay a cloth on top. Using a hammer, or something similar, smash the body and the legs. Remove the large claws and crack them, but don't break them open.

3. As you finish each crab put it and any juices that ooze out into a roasting dish and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.

4. Remove the large claws and add the chillies, onions, carrot, garlic and shrimp paste to the roasting dish. Cook a further 20 minutes then remove the dish from the oven.

5. Tip the contents into a large pot and cover with 4 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.

6. After 5 minutes skim off any scum that forms. Add the ginger, galangal, tomatoes, lime leaves and lemon grass and keep gently cooking for 2 hours.

7. While it's cooking, remove any meat from the claws by cracking the shells open gently and pulling it out. Set the crab meat aside. Add the shells to the pot.

8. To make the wontons, mix the prawn meat, grated ginger, fish sauce and spring onions together. Put in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

9. Take a wonton wrapper and drop a small teaspoon of the filling into the middle. Brush around the filling with a little water (or egg wash), and fold the edges together to form a tight bundle. Repeat until all the filling is used. Store the wontons on a tray covered with non stick baking parchment or clingfilm.

10. After the stock has been cooking for 2 hours, strain it carefully, as it will have a lot of small pieces of shell in it. You should now have about 2.5 litres of crab broth. Return it to the boil.

11. Adjust the heat to that the stock is at a rapid simmer and add the bok choi. Drop the wontons in one by one and cook for 4 minutes from the time you added the last one. Shred the remaining wonton wrappers into 5mm 'noodles' and drop these into the simmering stock, scattering them as you go so they don't stick together. Cook for a further 30 seconds then turn off the heat.

12. Taste the stock for seasoning and add fish sauce and lemon juice to taste. Divide the crab meat among serving bowls and scatter the coriander and mint leaves over the shellfish. Carefully ladle the soup, wantons, pak choi and noodles on top of this and serve.

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