Crab Spring Rolls Recipe | Seafood Recipes | PBS Food

Yield: 10 Rolls



  • For the Crab Filling:
  • 1 lb. crab meat
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 Thai bird chile finely minced
  • Salt
  • For the Rolls:
  • 10 spring roll wrappers 7 inches square
  • 1 "large" egg yolk lightly beaten
  • A fresh quart bottle of canola or vegetable oil
  • For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons nam pla (fermented fish sauce) or 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup tamarind paste
  • 1 Thai bird chile or 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup fine fresh grape-seed oil or canola oil
  • For the Garnish:
  • 10 leaves Boston lettuce large enough to wrap around spring roll
  • Sprigs of cilantro
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Special Equipment Suggested:
  • Pastry brush
  • Electric blender or food processor
  • Deep fryer with basket
  • Wire skimmer or slotted spoon
  • Deep-fat-frying thermometer
  • Baking tray lined with paper towels


  1. Preparing the Crab Meat: Pick over the crab meat very carefully to remove any pieces of shell. Gently fold in the mayonnaise, tamarind paste chile, and salt; taste carefully for seasoning.
  2. Filling the Wrappers: One by one, lay a wrapper down on the counter, its corners pointing north, south, east, and west. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center and shape it into a horizontal log 4 inches long. Fold the west and east corners over the filling so their points just touch each other over the filling. Pick up the southern corner and drape it forward over the filling, giving the filling a firm push to remove any air pockets. Using the pastry brush, generously paint the beaten egg yolk over the northern or top half of the wrapper, beginning at the northern point. Then roll up snugly toward the north to enclose the filling completely. Set aside, and continue rapidly with the rest.
  3. Preparing the Dipping Sauce: Puree all the ingredients, except the oil, in the blender, liquidating them completely. With the machine running, pour the oil very slowly through the top in a steady stream of droplets so that the mixture forms an emulsion. Taste carefully, pulsing in more sugar if the sauce is too tart or more tamarind paste for acidity and thickness. The sauce should have an agreeably sweet and sour flavor, and be the consistency of an emulsified salad dressing or thin mayonnaise.
  4. Deep-Frying the Spring Rolls: Pour the bottle of oil into the deep-frying pan and set over high heat to 375 F. Carefully drop in 3 of the spring rolls, turning gently with the wire skimmer until the rolls are crisped and golden brown; this should take less than one minute. Remove to the paper towels to drain; let the oil reheat for a moment before frying the rest.
  5. Tuck a spring roll in the center of each lettuce cup and top with a mint leaf and a sprig of cilantro. To eat a spring roll, fold the lettuce and herbs around it and dip an end into the sauce. Take a bite off the end, and dip again for the next mouthful.