Services 4 In the Bay Area, Dungeness crab season often coincides with the holidays and ends in early spring. Since my husband and I have been together, our Christmas dinner tradition is to have a crab feast. Often we will share two or three crabs with a number of dipping sauces, a fresh baguette, and Champagne. It’s not the most balanced meal, but it is so good!
My favorite sauce is the simplest one: a 50/50 combo of lemon juice and soy sauce. As an homage to my favorite dipping sauce, and in an effort to create a more balanced main dish that feeds more than two people, I developed this noodle dish.
Beware that you make more crab stock than you need for the recipe. Freeze and save the leftover stock for the next time a craving for crab noodles strikes (see Note). If you don’t want to make the crab stock yourself, you can substitute light chicken stock or dashi stock.
- 2 Dungeness crabs, cooked, cracked, and cleaned, or about 12 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
- 1 large onion, halved
- 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 6 dried chiles de árbol or other dried chiles
- 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus more as desired
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Chinese egg noodles, fresh or dried (see Note)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other high-heat neutral oil (see this page)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 fresh Thai chile, finely chopped
- ½ cup sliced water chestnuts
How To Make (Directions)
- Make the crab stock Separate the meat from the shells of the crabs and pick through it for any cartilage; put the meat in the refrigerator, covered. Put the shells in a large stockpot and add 12 cups water, the onion, celery, garlic, dried chiles, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Set the pot over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 90 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and strain the crab stock. Discard all the solids. Taste the stock and season it with salt as desired. Reserve 1 cup for this recipe, and store the remaining stock in the freezer for the next time you make these noodles (let the stock cool first, then pack it in freezer-safe containers and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months).
- Prepare the stir-fry sauce In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the crab stock with the cornstarch until smooth.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the lemon zest in strips, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith. (Reserve the peeled lemon for serving.) In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, remaining reserved crab stock, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer to allow the flavors to infuse the stock, 20 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 minutes. Taste and season with more soy sauce as desired. Remove from the heat.
- Cook the egg noodles to al dente according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and toss them with the sesame oil. Using clean kitchen shears, cut the noodles a few times to shorten them so that they won’t get too tangled during stir-frying.
- Heat a cast-iron pan or a wok over medium-high heat. Add the grapeseed oil, ginger, half the scallions, and the fresh chile. Cook, stirring often to avoid burning, for 1 minute. Add the noodles and stir-fry until they are coated in and have absorbed some of the oil, 1 to 2 minutes. A little browning of the noodles is okay, but avoid burning the aromatics. Add the reserved crabmeat, the stir-fry sauce, remaining scallions, and water chestnuts. Toss and stir-fry until the crab is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Divide the noodles among four bowls, squeeze a little of the reserved lemon over them, and serve immediately.
To simplify this noodle dish, make the crab stock in advance and freeze it. It will keep for 6 months. If you make a dish with fresh crab, save the shells in a plastic zip-top bag in the freezer until you’re ready to make the stock.
Fresh Chinese egg noodles are much better than the version that we see in little dried bricks. In better grocery stores, you can find them in the refrigerated section.
Otherwise, I like to make a trip to an Asian market, stock up on good-quality noodles, and store them in my freezer. No need to defrost before cooking; just cook them for 30 to 60 seconds longer than you normally would.