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Vietnamese Soft Shell Crabs

Vietnamese Soft Shell Crab

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main course/appetizer
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


Fried Soft Shell Crabs are a treat. Luscious and lavish, these crabs are divine!



4 Jumbo soft shell crabs, cleaned

2/3 c flour

1/2 c cornstarch

1 1/2 t baking powder

1 t ground turmeric

1/2 t kosher salt

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1 medium egg

1 t rice wine vinegar

1 12 oz bottle wheat beer (not a bitter beer)

Canola or peanut oil for frying

Nuoc Cham Sauce for Serving
Leaf Lettuce



Bean Sprouts


Make sure your fishmonger cleans the crabs.

In a 2 c mixing cup, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, turmeric, salt and cayenne.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg, vinegar and 1/2 a bottle of the beer. Using a spatula, fold the flour into the beer mixture. It should have the consistency of thin pancake batter and may be a bit lumpy, so do not over mix. Add more beer if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make your nuoc cham sauce and get your salad plate ready. I made an additional sauce of black pepper, lots of garlic and butter. That’s pretty good, also!

When ready to fry, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a high sided skillet or wok. Heat oil over high heat to 375. Preheat oven to 250 if you want to keep these warm and cover a baking sheet or plate with paper towels.

Dip crab into batter and allow the excess to drip off.  Holding the crab by the shell flaps, carefully lower the crab legs and body into the hot oil. Wait for a few seconds and then drop the entire crab into the oil. Repeat with other crabs. Cook for about 6 minutes until golden and crispy.

Drain on paper towels and keep warm in oven until all crabs are ready. Cut each crab in half and serve with sauce and salad plate. Or serve these on a burger bun or French bread!

To eat, wrap each half of the crab in a lettuce leaf, add some of the herbs, fold taco style and dip in sauce. Your life will never be the same!


Thank you Vietnamese Home Cooking.

Note: This batter would also be great for most any seafood!

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