Braised Mud Crab with Glass Noodles

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This is a great last-minute braise with a wonderful flavour. The noodles soak up the crab juices and you can suck the crab right out of the shell.


  • 1 × 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) live mud crab
  • 250 g (9 oz) glass noodles
  • 1 small handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), cut into julienne

Spice Paste

  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted until fragrant


  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) fresh chicken stock
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) oyster sauce
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) light soy sauce
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) shaoxing
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) Chinkiang vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 115 g (4 oz) sugar


Kill the mud crab humanely, pull off the top shell, discard the grey gills and wash. Pull off the claws, chop the body in half and crack the shell on the claws with the back of a cleaver. Soak the noodles in warm water for 5 minutes, then drain well.

To make the spice paste, place the chillies in a dry heavy-based frying pan and roast until blackened, then grind to a powder. Roast the peppercorns and coriander seeds until fragrant, then crush in a mortar with a pestle. Add the rest of the paste ingredients to the mortar and pound until you form a coarse paste.

Boil the stock ingredients for 1 minute, then add the paste and cook for another minute. Put the noodles and crab in a wok, pour over the broth, bring to the boil and cover. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the crab is cooked. Arrange in a bowl and top with the coriander and spring onions.