Sweet & Sour Crab


Sweet & sour has to be one of my favourite ways of cooking in Chinese cuisine. I just think it is such a good combination that, well, most seafood goes really well with. I do have soft spot for sour food, not so much of a sweet tooth. So, when comes to making easy and quick Chinese food, sweet & sour is always a winner. I have previously made prawns in chilli sauce & ketchup, which pretty much resembles this sweet & sour crab recipe that I will be sharing today.

I choose to use crab this time. There are many types of crabs that are available but, for this recipe, it goes extremely well with blue swimmer crabs. Also known as flower crabs, they are widely available in eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.


Just a few weeks ago, we woke up extremely early as we decided to make a trip to Billingsgate Market – a wholesale fish market in London, to source for the best and freshest seafood available. At 5am, there were already so many people buying lots of fish and seafood, which I believe most of the purchases were for restaurants. We were shopping around and I saw some beautiful blue swimmer crabs at one of the stalls. I got really excited and without thinking much, I grabbed a few big ones and paid for my purchase.

In my mind, I knew I was going to make this sweet & sour dish that mom has always been making at home. It is one of those dishes that I ate when I was young. I remember I could just eat this over a bowl of warm boiled rice and nothing else. Yes, it is that good! Looking at the photo now, I really want to eat more! Perhaps, I should get more next time!

If you can’t get blue swimmer crabs, you can also opt for brown crabs. Mud crabs are as well, however, might be difficult to get, depending on where you live.

Sweet & Sour Crab

Yield: 3-4 persons


1kg blue swimmer crabs
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1cm ginger, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 spring onions, cut into 5cm lengthwise

2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp chilli sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
50ml water


1. Rise the crab and place it on a clean work surface with the abdominal facing up. Using the tip of a sharp knife, stab into the centre of the crab slightly above the flap and below its eye. Repeat this for all the crabs and wait for 10 minutes. Pull off the triangular bony flap and discard. With the shell on its back and the eyes of the crab on the opposite, using two thumbs, pressing and pushing firmly under the rear end to lift the body off the shell. Discard the shell.

2. Remove the stomach bag and the spongy gills along each side of the body. Rinse well and pat dry. Pull off the two front claws from the body. Using a pestle or cleaver, slightly crack the shell of each claw. This is to ease the process of eating. Using a cleaver or a huge-bladed knife, cut the crab into quarters.

3. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the ginger, onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the crabs, stir to mix with other ingredients. Put the lid on and let steam for about 10 minutes or until the crabs turn into bright orange.

4. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Add to the wok, stir and toss to make sure everything gets well coated with the sauce. Bring to the boil for a few seconds. Then, lower the heat and put the lid back on for further 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.