Stir-Fried Mud Crab with Curry Powder


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This is an ‘I love my friends’ or ‘I’m spoiling myself’ dish. The egg is the key as it helps the flavours stick to the crab.

My father’s great love was mud crab and I have followed in his footsteps. It is, to me, the greatest crab I’ve ever tasted. The great thing about it is that it’s robust enough to handle Asian flavours with aplomb but also happy picked and dressed with lemon and extra virgin olive oil.


  • 1 × 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) mud crab
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 bunch spring onions (scallions), cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) lengths
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 small handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • juice of 1 lime


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red shallots, chopped


To make the paste, pound the garlic, sea salt, chillies, ginger and the shallots in a mortar with a pestle until you have a fine paste. Or use a blender to process the ingredients, adding a little water if necessary.

Kill the crab humanely, then clean and quarter it.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F), and deep-fry the crab in two batches for 3–4 minutes until it turns bright red. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towel. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of oil.

Reheat the wok until smoking, add the paste and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the curry powder and spring onions, stir-fry for 10 seconds, then add the fish sauce and sugar. Stir in the egg and cook until it just begins to set, then add the coconut milk. Return the crab to the wok and toss together, stir through the coriander leaves and squeeze over the lime juice to serve.