Cellophane Noodles with Crab and Black Pepper

0 Posted by - February 18, 2013 - feast, Issue 31, Seasonal Recipes, Shellfish, Winter 2013



Cellophane Noodles with Crab and Black Pepper

When it is Dungeness crab season, one of my favorite ways to capture the essence of Metacarcinus magister is to make these golden noodles. Cellophane noodles absorb whatever flavors they are combined with, in this case the sweet brininess of crabmeat and tomalley. This dish is best when it is made with a live crab that you cook yourself. If you are too squeamish
to cook crab at home, buy a precooked crab the day it is cooked.

4 servings


  • Cooked meat and tomalley
  • and fat from a 2- pound
  • Dungeness crab ( about
  • 1/2 pound crabmeat and
  • 1/4 cup tomalley and fat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 11/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon black
  • pepper, preferably
  • freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons finely
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons canola or
  • other neutral oil
  • 1 large shallot or small yellow
  • onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 dried wood ear mushrooms,
  • reconstituted,
  • stemmed and cut into
  • 1/8- inch-wide strips
  • (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 pound cellophane noodles,
  • soaked in hot water
  • until pliable, drained and
  • cut into 10- inch lengths


  1. In a bowl, combine the tomalley and fat, egg, water, fish sauce, pepper, and chopped cilantro and mix well. Measure the mixture; you want about 3/4 cup total. Add water if needed.
  2. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the crabmeat and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until aromatic. Add the noodles and continue to stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to soften. The noodles will look a bit dry.
  3. Give the tomalley mixture a good stir and pour over the noodles. Quickly work the mixture into the noodles to ensure an even distribution of flavors, lowering the heat if the noodles begin to clump. In about 2 minutes, the noodles will become translucent and lightly golden.
  4. Remove from the heat and taste and adjust with extra sprinkles of fish sauce and/or pepper. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.


  • Note If you prefer not to use the tomalley and fat, or if there isn’t any, use 2 eggs instead of 1 egg and increase the fish sauce in step 1 to 2 tablespoons.

Reprinted with permission from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors © 2006 by Andrea Nguyen, Ten Speed Press 




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