Soft-shell crabs with mango noodle salad

Ching He-Huang's tangle of crunchy vegetables, juicy fruit, noodles and rocket makes an exuberant base for delicate soft-shell crab
By Ching-He Huang
Soft-shell crabs with mango noodle salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus marinating and soaking time
  • Effort: easy


  • 4 small soft-shell crab
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 medium red chilli, sliced
  • lemon wedges, to serve, optional

For the marinade

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grated root ginger
  • 1 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder

For the battergro

  • groundnut oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 200 g potato flour

For the noodle salad

  • 100 g mung beans, oodles, or rice noodles
  • 1 handful sugar snap peas, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1 medium red chilli, seeds removed, finely sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1 mango, peeled, stone removed, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1 handful rocket

For the dressing

  • 1/2 grapefruit, juice only
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


1. To clean the soft-shell crabs, hold a crab in one hand and use a pair of kitchen shears to cut off the front of the crab, about 1-1.5cm behind the eyes and mouth. Squeeze out the contents of the sac located directly behind the cut you just made.

2. Lift one pointed end of the crabs outer shell and remove and discard the gills. Repeat on the other side. Turn the crab over and snip off the small flap known as the apron. Rinse the entire crab well and pat dry. Repeat with the remaining crabs.

3. For the marinade: combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the crabs, stir until well coated and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

4. For the batter: place a wok over high heat, half-fill it with groundnut oil and heat to 180C. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, potato flour and 2 tablespoons of water together.

5. Dip the soft-shell crabs in the batter and gently drop them into the hot oil. Deep-fry for a couple of minutes, until golden, then drain on kitchen paper. Season with a couple of large pinches of sea salt and black pepper, plus the dried chilli flakes. Garnish with the spring onions and chillies, plus some lemon wedges if desired.

6. For the noodle salad: rehydrate the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, then drain thoroughly. Put them in a large bowl with the remaining salad ingredients and set aside.

7. For the dressing: mix the ingredients together then taste and adjust the quantities if needed. Toss the dressing into the salad just before serving.

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