Vietnamese Crab Recipe: Cua Xao Sate


If you adore seafood as much as I do, you’re in for a treat. This is a typical Vietnamese sauteed crab recipe called cua xào satế. The key to this recipe is in the preparation of the crab itself.

First, everything in the crab was used. What made the sauce was the use of “crab butter” as well as the corals from the inside of the crab. Then, I deep-fried the rest of the crabs and tossed them in a fragrant sauce called “satế,” which consisted of garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, glass noodles and plenty of fresh chiles.

1. Info for Vietnamese Crab Recipe: Cua Xao Sate

  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 410 kcal

2. Ingredients for Vietnamese Crab Recipe: Cua Xao Sate

  • 6 whole fresh crabs, cleaned and separated
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce (or oyster sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon rock sugar (or granulated sugar), grated
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 (3-ounce) package bean thread noodles (optional), soaked, drained and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 green Thai chile peppers, stemmed and sliced on the bias
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt (or regular table salt), to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper, to taste

3. Directions:

  1. Gather the pieces of crab in a large mixing bowl and reserve the crab brain (from inside the main shells) separately in another small bowl. Pat dry. Add cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Toss well and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. In a wok, heat the oil. Add the shallots and cook for about 3-4 minutes until slightly golden and fragrant. Transfer to a plate, leaving as much shallot-flavored oil in the pan as possible.
  3. Dredge the crab with tapioca flour using a strainer and immediately fry the crab pieces in 3 batches, adding a teaspoon of mushroom seasoning salt to the wok. Jiggle the wok to make sure the crab doesn’t stick to the bottom and is totally coated with oil and slightly crispy. Remove and discard the oil, leaving about 2 tablespoons left in the wok. Add the hoisin sauce (or oyster sauce), sugar and reserved crab brain. Cook for 1 minute, then return the crab pieces and add the drained noodles to the wok. Stir fry until evenly distributed. Pour in ½ to 1 cup of water and scrape the solids at the bottom of the pan. Constantly toss the crab to ensure each piece is coated with the liquid. As soon as all the liquid evaporates, add the green onions and green chiles. Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often. The crab meat should be white and opaque and the liquid should be evaporated as well. Do not over-cook the crab or the meat will be dry! Un-cover and add the reserved shallots. Toss the crab and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a large serving platter.
  5. Serve with glass noodles or steamed jasmine rice on the side.
  6. Bon appétit!

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