Soft shell crab tempura with chilli and mint dressing

Aaron Crazes tempura recipe is perfect for those who love crab but hate having to fuss with the shell
By Aaron Craze
Soft shell crab tempura with chilli and mint dressing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 10
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the dressing

  • 1 chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 12 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 100 ml olive oil

For the crabs

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 200 g cornflour, plus extra for dusting
  • about 200 ml ice-cold soda water
  • 10 soft shell crab, thawed if frozen


1. For the dressing: mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste, season with salt, and if the lime is really sour, add a pinch of sugar.

2. For the crabs: fill a wok or high-sided saucepan half-full with oil and place over a high heat. Put the flour and cornflour in a large bowl. Whisk in enough ice-cold soda water to make a thick batter, making sure not to whisk too much the batter should be lumpy. Drop a little into the oil to test whether its hot enough the batter should sizzle and begin to turn golden within 20 seconds.

3. Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas ½ and line a baking sheet with kitchen paper. Season the crabs with salt and pepper and dust lightly with cornflour. Working a few at a time, dip the crabs in the batter and shake off any excess. Carefully place the crabs in the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider, place on the paper-lined tray and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining crabs.

4. Once all the crabs are cooked, sprinkle them with a little sea salt and serve hot with the dipping sauce.

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