Catching Mud Crabs

Selecting Mud Crab

Live Mud Crab - Scylla Serrata

Mud Crabs - Scylla Serrata

Catching - Selecting - Cleaning - Cooking

Cleaning Mud Crabs

Cooking Mud Crabs

Bait for Catching Mud Crabs

In Australia Mud Crab or Scylla Serrata are easy to catch in a mud crab pot (top left) available from your fishing tackle shop. The best bait for mud crab is whole mullet (score the flesh down the the bone five times on each side), or chicken carcus or chicken knecks and set from a rope with float to mark the location. For best results, place in a river overnight boarded with mangroves not too far from the shore or off a jetty with oyster covered rocks underneath.

Check with your local fisheries department for bag limits and minimum sizes. In Queensland Mud Crabs are plentiful and easy enough to find in restaurants and at fish markets, but really easy to catch too so give it a shot.

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Related Articles: Squid Fishing

Selecting a Mud Crab

  • At least a kilogram in weight is best.
  • Only select a male mud crab as the females breed more for the future.
  • To determine the sex of a mud crab, look for the pointed shape on it's belly (pictures above left) in contrast to a half moon shape for females (pictured at bottom of the page).
  • If buying from your fish market, buy them live and ensure the shell and claws aren't damaged or legs missing.

Handling a Live Mud Crab - You don't want the crab to bite you as they have very powerful claws. They are easy enough to pick up - with your thumb and index finer hold together the base of the back two swimmer legs and lift the crab up. That way it can't bite you.

Killing a Live Mud Crab - To humanely kill a mud crab in a way that doesn't stress them and effect the flavor of the meat, place the crab in your freezer for up to 1 hour.

Cleaning a Mud Crab

  1. Clean the outside of the mud crab with a brush under running water.
  2. If you want to keep the top shell to place back on the crab when you plate it up, lift the flap on it's belly and pull the top shell from the back of the crab forward, then halve the crab with a knife. Or simply turn the crab upside down and halve with a knife as pictured above right.
  3. Remove the legs and claws from the body.
  4. Remove the guts and feathery lungs from the body.
  5. Brush out any muck from the inside of the crab.
  6. Crack the shells of each portion before cooking to let the flavors in (one tap on each with a knife sharpening steel will do the trick).

Cooking Mud Crabs - Mud Crab Recipes

Writing the mud crab book for your kitchen comes down to adapting these simple recipes to suit. The most often asked for are chili mud crabs recipes. There are so many other flavors you can enhance mud crab with, just don't overpower it as the taste of the mud crab flesh by itself cooked plain is divine.

Traditional Mud Crab Recipie

Boiled Whole Mud Crab

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add a teaspoon of sea-salt and place the whole mud crab in and boil for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove and place in a sink of cold water to cool.
  • Then follow the cleaning a mud crab instructions above.
  • Note when boiling a whole mud crab, ensure there are no cracks in the shell or broken legs that would let water into the crab.

Chilli Mud Crabs Recipes

Dominic's Mud Crabs Chilli Cream

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 Live mud crab
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Teaspoon each of finely chopped chilli and garlic
200ml cream

Method for Coking Mud Crabs

Buy live, kill, add to pot of boiling water (or steam).
When cooked, remove legs and claws, then split body in 2 and remove guts and lungs.
Then break claws, legs with back of knife so juices can get in.
To saucepan add garlic, chilli and olive oil.
Add crab pieces and coat in favors.
Add cream, cover and cook a few minutes - stirring occasionally.

Serve and enjoy.

Dominic's Mud Crabs in Stock

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 Live mud crab
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 tins whole peeled or diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons each finely chopped garlic, ginger and chilli or to taste

Method for Cooking Mud Crabs

Buy live, kill then clean mud crabs.
In a large saucepan or pot with lid place garlic, ginger and chili
Then add chicken stock and wine
Then add whole peeled tomatoes (including the juice)
Bring near boil with lid on
Add cleaned and prepared mud crab pieces
Replace lid, simmer for 10 minutes

When mud crabs are done, remove crab pieces with tongs into serving bowl. Include on the table a bowl for shell scraps and napkins. Eat with your hands digging crab meat out with the tip of a crab leg or fork prong.

For best results, a few beers or glasses of wine should be consumed by the chef and guest while cooking the mud crab. I also recommend a dozen oysters to share while you cook. I guarantee that once you have eaten mud crab cooked this way, there will be absolutely no crab meat left anywhere in any piece of crab shell. You will dig out every last little tasty bit.

Dominic Mapstone is a Social Worker and Director of Rebeccas Community, a support service for homeless people in Sydney Australia. Return to: Going Rank | Dexter DVD Season Three | The L Word DVD

Female Mud Crab               Cooked Mud Crab              Mud Crab Pot              Halving a Shelled Mud Crab