Steamed Crab With Chinkiang Vinegar and Ginger Recipe

Sweet crab meat is paired with a flavorful dipping sauce of ginger and vinegar. . Fiona Reilly

Why This Recipe Works

  • A dipping sauce of sour Chinkiang vinegar balances the natural sweetness of the crabmeat.
  • Steaming the crabs in a two-tiered basket system makes cooks them quickly and efficiently.
  • In Shanghai, the arrival of fall signals the start of the much-anticipated hairy crab season. These small crabs, with their hairy mittens, have a rich, sweet flesh and roe. Unfortunately, hairy crab are considered an environmental pest in the USA; instead, substitute any small fresh or saltwater crab. The richness and sweetness of crabmeat goes perfectly with a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce flavored with Chinkiang vinegar and ginger. This dish is part of our seven-course Mid-Autumn Festival feast.

    Recipe Details

    Steamed Crab With Chinkiang Vinegar and Ginger Recipe

    Active 15 mins
    Total 30 mins
    Serves 4 servings


    • 1 (2-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks, divided

    • 2 ounces Chinkiang vinegar

    • 2 ounces rice vinegar

    • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

    • 4 small fresh or saltwater crabs

    • Shaoxing wine for drinking (optional)


    1. Divide ginger equally 4 ways and place into 4 small bowls.

    2. Combine Chinkiang and rice vinegars with sugar in a small pan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Meanwhile, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a wok or a large pot. Once cool, divide vinegar sauce into the 4 bowls with ginger.

    3. Clean crabs with a stiff-bristled brush under running water. If using a wok, place clean crabs shell-side down into two large bamboo steamer baskets, one over the other, and fit with lid. If using a Western-style pot, place crabs shell-side down in a standard steamer basket. Place steamer baskets over boiling water, cover if using a Western-style pot, and steam until crabs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

    4. Serve crabs warm with vinegar and ginger dipping sauce.

    Special equipment

    Steamer baskets


    This dish is traditionally enjoyed with warmed Shaoxing wine. To do so, place a bottle in a container of hot water for several minutes and serve it alongside the crab in small cups.

    This Recipe Appears In

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)
    88 Calories
    1g Fat
    3g Carbs
    15g Protein
    Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
    Nutrition Facts
    Servings: 4
    Amount per serving
    Calories 88
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 1g 1%
    Saturated Fat 0g 1%
    Cholesterol 82mg 27%
    Sodium 338mg 15%
    Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
    Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
    Total Sugars 2g
    Protein 15g
    Vitamin C 3mg 16%
    Calcium 82mg 6%
    Iron 0mg 3%
    Potassium 252mg 5%
    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
    (Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)