‘Tis the season for hairy crabs!

the steamed crabs

Shanghai Hairy Crab aka Mitten Crab

So named after its hairy claws, it is also known as “mitten crab” as the front of its claws is covered with hair that looks like it’s wearing a pair of mittens. Native to the coastal brackish waters stretching from Korea in the north to the Fujian province of China in the south, it’s is a much sought after delicacy for its roe during the autumn months.

the claws with "mittens" on !

the claws with “mittens” on !

To our delight, hubby hand-carried some lively hairy crabs inflight with him all the way from China for us yesterday. This crustacean is best eaten steamed and dipped in a vinegar base sauce. To enhance its flavour, it is also recommended to steam it together with dried perilla leaves. However, without any perilla leaves on hand, we simply gave it a good scrub and put it to steam with no other added ingredients or seasonings and it was absolutely sweet and flavorful.

As hairy crabs are considered to have a “cooling” (yin) effect on the body, the best way to round up the dish is nothing more than a hot cup of steaming ginger tea (this I learned from hubby). Yum Yum!


(A) The Crabs
– give it a good scrub and place it in a steamer over high heat for 20-30 mins until thoroughly cooked.

the steamed crabs

the steamed crabs

All ready to tuck in...slurp..slurp...

All ready to tuck in !

That's what it is prized for - a shell-ful of roe !!!

That’s what it is prized for – a shell-ful of roe !!!

this is what's in store in each crab - more roe than flesh!

more roe than flesh – so deliciously creamy !

(B) The Dipping Sauce (for about 4-6 crabs)
– mix well together :
2 tablespoons minced yellow ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons black vinegar (or more, to taste)

stir until sugar dissolves

stir until sugar dissolves

(C) Ginger Tea (for 4 persons)
– bring ingredients to boil rapidly together for 10 mins
1 litre hot water
4″ knob ginger, lightly flattened with a cleaver
brown sugar to taste

So soothing... a must-have beverage to round off at the end of the meal

So soothing… a must-have beverage to round off at the end of the meal

So that’s our one year fill of cholesterol for now until next October/November. Thanks for the treat, Daddy 😙