Stir-Fry Crabs with Ginger and Scallions
A popular Chinese stir-fry recipe that is actually quite simple to make at home in less than 30 minutes. Always get the freshest crabs available and prepare them as soon as possible.
If you enjoy eating stir-fried crabs but have never prepared it yourself, I challenge you to make this dish.
I have simplified the steps as much as possible because even I don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen with my hungry kids screaming and chasing each other around the house.
Like most stir-fries, the basic steps to this dish are generally the same:
- Heat oil;
- Toss in aromatics (ginger, garlic and scallion whites);
- Pour in some steaming liquid (can be just water or broth, we used cognac and water) which will become part of the sauce later;
- Add crabs and steam for 10-15 minutes depending on size of the crab (our crabs were quite large so we steamed them for 15 min);
- Thicken the sauce with cornstarch and soy sauce mixture and you’re done!
Be sure to serve this dish over rice, noodles, or something like a mantou bun to soak up all the saucy goodness. Don’t let the amazing sauce go to waste!
I don’t have a wok so I use a large shallow non-stick pan with a lid. (But I have been eyeing this 10-piece set from Joyce Chen for a while now because it includes the wok, lid, frying rack and more!)
My mom made us this Crab stir-fry with ginger and scallions during her recent visit from New York. It only takes about 20-25 minutes (5 minutes of which was spent cleaning the crabs). We bought large local blue crabs which were 32 dhs/kg ($4/lb) at a supermarket.
On cleaning the crabs: I like to remove the gills and the triangular thingy at the bottom of the crabs but if those parts it doesn’t bother you, just rinse the crabs and throw it into the pan as-is. If you are squeamish about cleaning crabs or have never done it before, ask your fishmonger/seafood purveyor to do it for you.
It’s been amazing having my mom here for the last four weeks (even with the unsolicited parenting advice). I may have cooked only once in the last month. She’s spoiled us with her Chinese and Vietnamese home cooking. Dishes only she can make and we just salivate over.
She has entertained the kids while I spent time at the gym or worked on this blog. She brought and bribed the kids with so much chocolate and candy that I think they’ve all gained a few pounds. She helped bathe and settle Li’L Ginger at night which was such a huge blessing as Li’L Ginger always cries for me to sleep next to her and will wail for what seems like hours if I don’t oblige.
But with my mom, she puts her head on the pillow, hugs her stuffed animals, and says “Night night PoPo” and closes her eyes. Grandma Magic.
When I picked up my son from school that day after dropping my mom at the airport, he immediately said to me, “PoPo’s gone now. You have to start cooking again, mom.” Gee, thanks son.
Please give this recipe a try and remember the 5 basic stir-fry steps for this recipe: 1) oil, 2) aromatics, 3) steaming liquid, 4) crabs, 5) thickener. I make a black-bean version in much the same way (that’s a post for another day).
You can do this!
Stir-Fried Crabs with Ginger and Scallions
- 4 large blue crabs
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- Thumb-sized piece of ginger (minced or julienned)
- 2 bunches of scallions , cut into 2″ slices BUT reserve whites and greens separately
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons alcohol: Shaoshing wine/vodka/whisky/cognac (optional)
Thickening Mixture / (the Ginger and Scotch Magic Ratio)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Juice from ½ lemon or 2 teaspoons vinegar (distilled, cider, red wine, etc)
- If you will be serving your crabs with rice or noodles, prepare them as per the packaging instructions. Do this step before you start prepping the crabs.
- Prepare crabs by cleaning them with a scrub brush under running water. Remove the upper shell. Remove gills. Cut the body in half if desired. We like to smash the claws with the back of a knife or you can use a crab cracker at the end of cooking.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large saute pan that has a lid and can fit the crabs. Add ginger, garlic and scallion WHITES and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Add alcohol (optional) and water, then add the crabs (not the upper shells just yet) and stir around the sauce. Now place the crab shells on top.
- Cover, lower heat to simmer and steam 10-15 min depending on size of the crab. Note: if the liquid in the pan has evaporated, add another ¼ cup of water and make sure it is simmering.
- Remove crabs to a separate dish to make it easier to thicken the sauce. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add thickening mixture (soy sauce, sugar, water, corn starch) to the wok/pan and stir until sauce has thickened.
- Add scallions GREENS and lemon juice. Slide the crabs back into the pan and mix gently.
- Serve with rice or noodles.
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I made this crab recipe today and OMG, it was AMAZING!
My 3 year old, 1 year old, husband and mum all loved it.
This will definitely become a regular meal in our house, thanks for this.
It was very easy to make, i cooked it without alcohol and it was still insanely good.
Keep your recipes coming, Ginger!
Thank you so much Camilla for the feedback. I am really happy that your family enjoyed this recipe!
What is the secret that mom’s food always tastes best when she prepares it? This is such a beautiful dish and would be loved by my seafood loving family. I love stir fries because of how quickly they come together. A busy mom’s best friend!
If only I could clone my mom and have here in Dubai with us – she really is an amazing cook.
I’m motivated by this recipe to take on cooking crabs at home! Mom’s recipes are always the best, aren’t they? 🙂
I’ve made it a few times since my mom showed me how easy it is. Sometimes I just steam it when I’m too lazy to fuss with a sauce.
These looks sensational!
And so perfect!
This weekend has been the annual Mandurah Crab Fest, so we have been feasting on all sorts of crab recipes.
Can’t wait to try this!
Oh wow – that sounds like my kind of festival – crabs!
There is a great commercial on TV about how mom’s always call at the wrong time. As long as they call and we can serve them great dishes like your crab, we will hold on!
Very true, very true!
oh, how I love crabs. This recipe goes in my “to cook” list for april
I hope you were able to make the recipe! I think I’m due for a repeat performance soon.
Oh I miss my mom, she used to cook for us too when she was here, I’ll soon see her in a few months. This crab dish looks delicious Sandy, thanks for sharing the recipe
Summer at home with mom’s cooking – not long now.
I am a big crab lover, so totally enjoyed the post and images ;-). Just never cooked them myself, it seems it’s time now…
Did you family get to try the recipe? Let me know how it goes.
Great images, and such a gorgeous looking recipe too! Crab is not something I’ve ever tried cooking before. Need to remedy this!
It seems intimidating but once you do it the first time, it gets easier.
My hubby would die if I made this! He loves crabs! Thanks for the recipe
LOL – keep him alive long enough to eat it!
I was literally salivating watching your Mom prepare this at snapchat. We have a similar recipe but haven’t serve it with noodles. Yum
Yay! Someone actually watched my snapchat – happy dance!
I have a love hate relationship with crabs, but this recipe sounds like one I would enjoy!
I love crabs but hate eating it in public – so messy!
I’ve never tried blue crabs before! Looks like a great place to start! Thanks for sharing!!
I’m wondering if I can try this recipe with other kinds of crab – I have seen mud crabs and red crabs for sale lately.
Wow, this sounds delicious! The hubs loves crabs so I might just have to make this recipe to surprise him. He’d totally love this!
Great picture and an amazing recipe – can’t wait to try it!
Let me know if you do get a chance to make the recipe!
Mom’s cooking is always the best! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
I’m always interested in other sauce recipes for crabs – will pick your brain the next time I see you.