Steamed Live Crab and Garlic Noodles Recipe

Crab and Lobster

Thanksgiving in Northern California means it’s DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON!!! I am sharing my steamed live crab and garlic noodles recipe that I have been making for years. We don’t have family nearby and it’s usually just our little family for dinner so roasting a whole turkey is too much food. And since it is a holiday, what’s better than celebrating with fresh live crab! Oh, and a lobster. Oh, and a tray of uni. Yum, Yum!

The hubs and I feel that it’s important to teach them where our food comes from. They know beef was once a cow and fish come from the ocean, not just cuts of meat neatly packaged at the supermarket. I cook with them often and they love to help in the kitchen, especially when things get messy. What a big surprise the kids got when we pulled the live lobster and crab out of the box. My 2 year old was terrified at first and hid behind her dad to peek at these scary looking animals on the dining table. Her big brother to explained to her, “這是龍蝦,這是螃蟹 ,是吃的”, while making crab claws with his hands.


Crab and Lobster Lesson
Crab Hands

After the quick lesson on seafood we all went to the kitchen and into the pots they went. This step is too dangerous for the kids to help but they watched in awe as dad quickly put the crazy looking creatures into the steaming pots. What a fun day! Thank you to the ocean for providing us with a delicious meal.

Lobster Hands
Steamed Live Crab and Garlic Noodles

Steamed Live Crab with Garlic Noodles Recipe Ingredients:

Recipes makes about 6 servings of noodles

  • live dungeness crab (as many as you want!)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (we prefer kikkoman)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (if omitting replace with soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 pound fresh egg noodles, or a box/pack of thin spaghetti
  • 3/4 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Reserved “crab butter” (optional)**
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

How To Steam the Crab and Prepare “Crab Butter”

  1. In a large pot boil about 3 inches of water. Keep heat on high so the water stays on a hard boil.
  2. Quickly put the crab into the pot. Crab does not need to be submerged. The crab will extend all it’s legs once it feels the heat so you need to put it in the pot quickly and close the lid. Steam with the lid on for 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from pot and allow to cool.
  4. Flip the crab upside down and pull off the body. This will allow the shell to hold all the liquid. This liquid is the “crab butter” Reserve this for the noodles.

Directions for the Noodles

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Boil a large pot of water, and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large saute pan or wok on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add the cooked noodles and toss to coat evenly with the garlic butter.
  4. Add the sauce and toss for a couple minutes. Add the “crab butter” and toss again.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with steamed crab.

Recipe Notes:

*All of the sauce ingredients are commonly used in Taiwanese and Chinese recipes, except for the fish sauce which is a staple in my pantry. It adds saltiness and a unique flavor Japanese refer to as Umami.

**I often use spaghetti noodles when I don’t have time to stop at the Asian market. All that butter and garlic you ask? YES! 

***The crab butter is not necessary but adds a depth of flavor and extra yumminess. Plus you’d otherwise throw this out so don’t let it go to waste.

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