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Korean Spicy Crab Soup Recipe ~ 꽃게탕 (Kkot Geh Tang)

Saturday, May 14, 2011 | Labels: , , |

I am very excited today to present something I've been wanting to cook (and eat!) for a while, Korean spicy crab soup or also known as 'kkot geh tang'.  As with other Korean soups I have featured like maeuntang and soondubu jigae, the basic ingredients are the same, you will need gochugaru (Korean chilli powder), although instead of gochujang (Korean spicy bean paste), doenjang is used instead for today and of course a variety of vibrant vegetables.  The crabs add such excellent umami flavours while the daikon and zucchini add some crunch and the watercress coupled with the chrysanthemum garland ('tong hoe') provides unique fragrance to the soup.


Live crabs are said to be the best kind for this dish but me being as squemish as ever, I still cannot bear to kill live crabs so I bought flower crabs that were still very fresh from the local grocery store.  The fishmonger of course looked a little puzzled when I pointedly asked for 'crabs that are not alive' and of course broke into a grin when I explained my er, predicament with cooking anything still alive.  Anyhow, the flavours of this dish are very appetising - spicy, savoury, earthy and refreshingly sweet from the crabs.


These soups are usually served with steamed rice and a variety of banchan (side dishes) but I can just have this dish as a full meal.


Serving suggestion: Either with steamed rice and banchan or on its' own.

Recipe adapted from The Japanese & Korean Cookbook by Emi Kazuko and Young Jin Song


Crab stock: (you will need a strainer or use a piece of cheesecloth to strain the stock)

2 fresh blue or flower crabs, cleaned (you can get the fishmonger to do this)
1 knob of young ginger
2 stalks green onions, smashed

1 1/2 tsp sesame oil (try to get the Korean ones)
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small daikon/ Chinese white radish, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini/ courgette, thinly sliced
2 large green chilli peppers, sliced (you can seed them to lessen the spiciness)
1 small bunch of watercress
1 small bunch of chrysanthemum garland ('tong hoe') - you can skip this if you can't find these

1 1/2 tsps light soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp doenjang (soya bean paste)
1 tbsp sake



Firstly, rinse the crabs again throughly even if they have been cleaned by the seller.  Place the shells and the legs of the crabs in a stock pot or wok and fill with about 7 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add the ginger and green onions.  This additional step is to eradicate any unpleasing 'fishiness' of the crabs.  Once the water is boiling merrily, turn heat to low and allow to simmer for about 1 hour.  However, remove the ginger after about 20 minutes as I did not want my crab stock to have a strong ginger flavour.  Discard the ginger.

Remember to scoop out any scum as the stock is boiling.  After 1 hour, strain the stock through a piece of cheesecloth.  Set the stock aside.  You can choose to discard the shell or keep it for eating, note: the Chinese like to eat the insides of crab shells.

Clean the pan you used earlier.  Heat the same pan on low heat and add about half of the crab stock from earlier.  Add half of the gochugaru, the smashed garlic cloves and the sesame oil into the stock while stirring.  Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer again briefly. 

Add in the rest of the stock and add the radish.  The radish takes the longest time to cook so this is added first.  Bring the stock back to a boil and reduce the heat and then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the crabs, zucchini, chilli peppers and boil for about 5 minutes or until the crabs turn bright orange/red.  Add the remaining gochugaru, light soy sauce and salt.  Bring the soup back to a boil.  Do a taste test and add more salt or soy if you want.

Finally, add in the doenjang paste, sake, the watercress and the chrysanthemum garland vegetables.  Turn heat to low and cover for about 2 minutes.  Turn heat off.  Once the vegetables are soft, ladle soup into serving bowls and serve hot.



Kay Heritage said...

 Oh, my!  This looks most scrumptious!  

Nami said...

SUPER amazing photography Jen!  My husband will be jealous of this dish.  I developed some kind of allergy to crab (trust me I love fresh crabs) and I haven't eaten since several years ago.  I wish I can eat this meal too... what a wonderful recipe!

Gourmantine said...

Jen, this soup looks so beautiful, healthy and delicious! Love it!

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

thank you Kay!

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Nami, thanks very much for your compliments :) Awww, that's too bad but you could possibly substitute with other kinds of seafood...

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

thank you Gourmantine!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

 Mmm I love Korean food but have never heard of a crab soup -- this looks so yummy, Jen.

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Thanks Xiaolu, it was good too, that is if you like the flavour of crabs :D

Birain71 said...

just made it tonight and it was truly a hit... I suddenly became better than my husband's coworkers' wives...hehehe I love your blog, Jen.... So thankful I came across to it.. Looking forward for more^^

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Thanks for the feedback! Haha, funny huh? Glad you liked this simple soup and do let me know if you have any questions :D

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