Crispy Soft-Shell Crabs with Bangalore-Style Dipping Sauce
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
Several years ago, I worked for a soft-shell crab company out of Maryland and spent four years studying, eating and cooking the shellfish. I traveled the world testing recipes and visiting soft-crab fisheries and I came to consider myself something of an expert. One year, at the Boston Seafood Show, the owner of the company introduced me to a gentleman who owned the largest crab processing facility in India. He loved my recipes, which I was serving at the booth, but he told me the next day he would make me a sauce for fried crab that would knock my socks off. He did, and I have been making that sauce ever since. Thanks, Vikram! Indian seafood recipes are not as popular as other dishes from that amazing culinary culture—but they should be. Check out this recipe and you will be sold. It’s a great break from the soft-crab po’boys and meunière-style preparations that we are all a little tired of. At least I am.—Andrew Zimmern
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons beef stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 to 3 serrano chiles, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 large egg whites
- 8 jumbo soft-shell crabs, cleaned and patted dry
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the beef stock, lime juice, sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Add the shallot, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir in the cilantro and chiles.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the crabs and turn to coat. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, white pepper, salt and cayenne.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil until 375°. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Dredge 2 or 3 of the crabs at a time in the flour mixture and add them to the hot oil. Fry over high heat, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer the crabs to the rack. Transfer the crabs to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.