Softshell Crab Summer Rolls

Chris Siversen

Maritime Parc - Jersey City, NJ

This recipe is a fun way to enjoy one of summer’s most precious treats: the softshell crab. Fresh softshells are best when cooked right away, but if you’re buying frozen, make sure to completely defrost them before frying.


Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped lemongrass
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons palm sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger

Curry Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon red curry paste

Softshell Crab:

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 box tempura batter mix
  • 3 softshell crabs, cleaned and trimmed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Summer Rolls:

  • 1 ounce vermicelli rice noodles
  • Six 8-inch, circular rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced daikon radish
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Thai basil leaves


Make the dipping sauce: combine the fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, lemongrass, palm sugar, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Set aside.

Make the curry sauce: combine the mayonnaise, mustard, and red curry paste in a bowl. Set aside.  

Place the dried noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand until the noodles have softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Cook the softshell crabs: add 4 inches of oil to a heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 350ºF. Prepare the tempura batter mix according to the package directions. Dip the crabs into the tempura batter and shake off any excess. Carefully place the crabs in the oil. Cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to carefully remove the crabs from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, then cut each crab into 4 peices.

Assemble the summer rolls: fill a large bowl with warm water. Soak a wrapper in warm water until it becomes pliable. Remove the wrapper and lay it flat on a cutting board. Pat dry with a paper towel. Place a small amount of rice noodles on the lower third of the wrapper. Top with some carrots and daikon radishes. Add some cilantro, mint, and Thai basil leaves. Place 2 pieces of crab on top, making sure that it covers the rest of the filling. Drizzle with a little curry sauce. Carefully roll the bottom edge of the wrapper and the filling once; the filling should be contained in a single layer of the wrapper. Fold the 2 sides of the wrapper over the rolled filling, then resume rolling from the bottom edge, rolling all the way to the top to create a tight log. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, making sure to evenly distribute all of the ingredients.

Cut each of the rolls into 2 pieces and serve with the dipping sauce.


6 servings