Vietnamese Stuffed Crabs (Cua Farci)

This recipe comes from Pho Tau Bay Restaurant in Gretna, Louisiana.


  • 6 hard-shelled crabs
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons tree ears soaked for 20 minutes, then drained and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 ounce cellophane noodles
  • soaked 20 minutes, then drained and chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons bottled fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Break off the claws from the crabs. Turn the crabs over and remove the roe, if the crab is female, and set aside. Twist the skirt attached to the underside of each body. Break it off and discard. Also remove and discard the spongy parts attached to the crab. Rinse under cold running water. Remove the top shell from each; wash, dry well, and reserve for stuffing. Cook the crab bodies for five minutes in boiling water. Drain and pick out the crabmeat, then combine with the reserved roe (if any), and the pork, tree ears, onion cellophane noodles, pepper, egg, shallots, garlic and fish sauce. Stuff the reserved crab shells with this mixture. In a frying pan, heat the oil over a high flame. Place the crab shells in the oil, filling side down. Turn the heat to medium and cook until browned, then turn over and cook for seven more minutes; the shells will turn bright orange.

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