This crab omelette recipe makes for a great weekend eggs dish that’s perfect if you’re just back from an early morning shop at the fish markets, armed with fresh crab. It’s decadent, a little sweet, a little spicy, and very, very moreish.
Crab Omelette Recipe — Weekend Eggs, Asia Series
The origin of this crab omelette recipe is Charmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook which used to be on my bookshelves in Sydney for many years and saw a lot of use — it’s a classic in the Australian-Asian kitchen. While the book is light on Cambodian and Laotian recipes, it’s a pretty good reference book to have when comparing different recipes across the region, particularly Vietnamese and Thai dishes.
There are many different Asian crab omelette recipes and this crab omelette recipe of Solomon’s, which I’ve tweaked a bit, is a Vietnamese one, and in my opinion it’s the best method for making a crab omelette.
For instance, I find the Japanese-style Kanitama-don or ‘egg fuyong’, where a crab meat omelette is served on top of rice, to be way too heavy and a waste of good crab meat — that is, if the chef doesn’t use imitation crab sticks!
The famous Bangkok style crab omelette served at Raan Jay Fai is not only notable for how expensive it is by Bangkok standards, but how well cooked it is. ‘Sister Mole’, as the owner-cook is known locally, is amazing to watch on the woks — she alone fronts the burners — but I can think of better things to do than wrap this much fantastic crab meat in a rubbery casing.
There are other versions of this crab omelette recipe too. There are Chinese renditions that are similar to the Bangkok style eggs, but it’s the Vietnamese version of the omelette that I really think does the delicate, sweet flavour of the crab justice.
With skill, you can make a perfect omelette with three eggs without it being too much ‘casing’ for the crab. Having the omelette not quite set before you fold it (some cooks roll the omelette as well), means it arrives at the table just cooked through. You don’t want a dry omelette. Ever.
A little note about the use of butter in this crab omelette recipe. Yes, it’s not very Asian, but I’m pretty sure the French might have had a hand in the way Vietnamese omelettes ended up so delicious.
What butter adds to the dish is a little nuttiness and it helps give the exterior of the omelette colour, even though it’s not fully cooked through.
With the condiments, I don’t mind the ubiquitous Nước chấm dipping sauce, a mix of chillies, garlic, sugar, lime, rice vinegar, and fish sauce. But for me it’s a little too ‘thin’ a sauce for this dish and if you pour it over the top you have a soggy omelette.
I like going pan-Asian by adding some oyster sauce and Sriracha, which is, if my memory serves correct, the same way they do it at Chin Chin in Melbourne, where the dish is a standout.
I can’t stress the importance of the freshness of the crab meat. Charmaine Solomon recipe uses uncooked crab meat that’s cooked in the pan. I prefer the crabs to have been boiled first and then just getting a little heat from being in the pan for 30 seconds as the omelette sets.
We’re lucky that we can get good blue swimmer crabs here in Siem Reap at Psar Chas, Old Market, which has the city’s best seafood. Although the crab to meat ratio can sometimes be a little deceiving, so I’ll also buy freshly cooked crab meat. I don’t want to spend an entire Sunday morning extracting a couple of hundred grams of crab meat, half of which Lara will consume before I’ve cracked an egg.
We love this dish so much it’s hard to go to the market without bringing some crab meat home. It’s a fantastic brunch dish and if you’re having guests over and want to serve it for four people you can easily multiply the amount of ingredients and use a bigger pan to make a grander omelette (I suggest making it for two at a time) and slicing the omelette in half to serve.
If you’re serving it for brunch for friends, some sparking wine or a sauvignon blanc is the perfect accompaniment to this crab omelette. And why not make it special? You’re not only enjoying some fantastic produce, but you’re showing off your kitchen skills by making the perfect omelette.
- 80 grams cup fresh cooked crabmeat (blue swimmer if possible)
- 1 long red chilli, halved, seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 tablespoon of neutral oil
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup snow pea sprouts
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 small bunch coriander
- Sriracha sauce to taste
- Deseed the chilli and finely chop half the chilli and add to a hot pan with a little oil and the white ends of the spring onions and the ginger.
- Cook until the spring onions and the ginger are translucent and add to the crab meat in a small bowl and stir.
- Lightly beat the eggs until yolks are broken and mix in the soy and fish sauce.
- Prepare your garnish. Thinly slice the remaining chilli into strips. Pick a small handful of coriander leaves. Wash and drain the snow pea sprouts.
- Over medium-high heat add the rest of the oil and the butter to an omelette pan. When it’s hot add the egg mixture and leave it for 15 seconds to start to set a little. With a silicon spatula, begin pushing the cooked egg towards the centre of the pan and additionally swirl the pan to get the unset eggs to cook. Run the spatula around the rim of the pan to stop it from sticking.
- When the omelette is becoming firm and there is only a little liquid on the surface of the omelette add the crab mixture to the centre of the omelette. Using the spatula, fold one side of the omelette to just over centre of the pan, followed by the other side. This will be the bottom of the omelette.
- Take the pan off the heat and turn the omelette over onto a plate.
- If you’re going to present this to guests and want a fancy presentation, slice the omelette in half and arrange as in the photo (above).
- Drizzle with the oyster sauce and Sriracha, followed by the snow pea sprouts, the chilli strips and the coriander.