Chengdu-Style Spicy Crab

I have been a fan of authentic Szechuan cuisine since I first tried it at Z & Y Restaurant in San Francisco a few years ago. I love the bold, pungent, and spicy flavors. This recipe is my riff on the flavors from that region.



6-12 live stone crabs
1½ cups dried red chili peppers
1 tbsp red or green Sichuan peppercorns
½ cup Pixian chili bean paste
8 scallions, sliced on a bias
2 tablespoons minced ginger, or paste
2 whole star anise
1 bay leaf
½ tsp black cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons preserved mustard greens
2 tablespoons preserved black beans
2 tablespoons Sichuan ground chilies
10 cups chicken or seafood stock
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground Sichuan pepper
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 whole, peeled garlic cloves
2-3 stalks celery including leaves, cut in sections
¼ cup grapeseed or canola oil


Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add chili peppers and whole Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili bean paste, half of the scallions, ginger, star anise, bay leaf , cardamom and cook about 1-2 minutes to bring out their aroma. Stir in mustard greens, preserved black beans and ground chili. Add the stock and turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Add Shaoxing wine, sugar, ground Sichuan pepper, soy sauce and mix well. Add the garlic cloves and celery and the live crabs. Boil the crabs for about 7-10 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and allow crabs to soak up the spicy seasoning for about 20 minutes. Serve garnished with remaining scallions, and the whole chilis from the pan sauce.

About Chef Justice Stewart

I am a former construction worker turned chef from NYC that will educate the average cook on how to prepare restaurant quality meals. Please Subscribe to this blog to enjoy some wonderful recipes and tips.

Posted on April 12, 2019, in Seafood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I really like how you included a picture of the ingredients you used. Helps in shopping and prep. Looking forward to trying this recipe.


  1. Pingback: Chengdu-Style Spicy Crab — Gourmet De-Constructed – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

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