Stir-fried crab claws

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

The fattest, juiciest arms of dismembered spider crab are on the menu at Bangkok’s Seafood Market restaurant (Soi Sukhumvit 24, Sukhumvit Road, Khlongtoey). Here, in neon-lit supermarket-like surroundings, you grab a trolley, stack it with gorgeous seafood pulled from a mile-long iced counter - an altar to some of Thailand’s finest - then select some veg, and hand the lot over to a battery of wok-flaming cooks, who will cook it to your suggestion (but with their formulaic interpretation). The selection and freshness is stunning - and the prices are too. This dish has its claws dug gloop-deep in China - but that’s Bangkok for you. Regular crab claws work beautifully too.


  • 2 fat arms of spider crab or other crab claws
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 red chillies, chopped
  • 3 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 1 stick lemongrass, trimmed and shredded salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp black vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tbsp cornflour, dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water
  • bunch of spring onions, finely shredded, or chopped garlic chives


Cut the spider crab claws into 6cm sections and crack them by bashing them with a rolling pin. For regular crab claws, just bash with a rolling pin to crack them. In both cases, leave the shell on. Heat the oil, then chuck in the garlic, chillies, ginger and lemongrass and stir-fry until things take up a touch of colour. Throw in the crab, some salt and pepper and 2 tbsp water, and stir-fry further for about 2 minutes, then add everything else but the greenery and bubble up. Cook, stirring every now and then, for a further 2 minutes or so, or until the crab is cooked and things look good. Stir through half of the spring onion and serve with the rest thrown on top, and more pepper.