Dungeness Crab with Tamarind Sauce

  • images/show_01_dungeness_crab_with_tamarind_sauce.jpg

Makes 2 - 4 servings

This dish can easily be substituted with blue crabs if they are in season. Make sure to buy whole live crabs at the market to ensure freshness. You can also ask the fishmonger to cut and clean the crab for you. Steaming the crab with beer gives the meat an extra boost of flavor.

  • 1 whole Dungeness crab, cleaned
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Tapioca starch for dry-coating
  • Cooking oil for deep-frying


  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • 1 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 tablespoons tamarind paste*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons orange sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water


  1. Cut crab into quarters; break claws in two or three places without disturbing the meat. Mix crab with white pepper and garlic; let stand for 15 minutes. Coat crab with tapioca starch, shaking off excess.
  2. Heat enough oil in wok for deep-frying over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F. Carefully add crab and deep-fry until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Lift out and drain on paper towels.
  3. To make sauce: Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add shallots, onion, green onion and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add tamarind paste, water, orange sauce, fish sauce and sugar; cook for 1 minute. Add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens.
  4. Add crab to sauce; cook until evenly coated with sauce.