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Tempura Papershell Crabs

Soft-shells fried in a light batter.

By Jimmy Sneed

This is a good way to cook crabs with shells that are a bit tougher. The lightness of tempura batter lets the sweetness of the crab shine through. Makes four appetizer portions.


Four soft-shell crabs (cleaned)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup cold water

1 handful ice cubes

1 gallon canola or peanut oil

Sea salt


To clean the crabs, use scissors to trim off legs except for claws, then pull the back shell off, and cut out the gills and the apron. Cut the crab into two pieces, leaving a claw on each half.

Fill a deep pot about half full with canola oil and heat to 375 degrees. (You don't want the oil to boil over when the crabs are added.)

Thoroughly mix flour and baking soda in a bowl, then whisk in the cold water. Make sure no lumps exist, then add ice cubes. The batter should be cold and relatively thin.

Dredge crabs in the batter and shake off excess batter. Place in oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


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