Tempura Soft Shell Crab with Pork Belly Risotto

Soft shell crabs are soft and delicate, sweet and slightly salty. We thought this soft shell crab tempura recipe with pork belly risotto that we found on ciaowinnipeg.com would be the perfect way to showcase this beautiful seafood.

The creaminess of the risotto works well with the crispy crab and the bold pork belly. The tempura batter is extremely light and doesn’t overpower the crab. Topping the whole dish with the shiitake syrup yields one cohesive dish.

Maryland soft shell crabs from Cameron’s Seafood are perfect for this recipe. Our soft shell crabs come cleaned and flash frozen.

We hope you enjoy this tempura soft shell crab with pork risotto recipe!

Tempura Soft Shell Crab with Pork Belly Risotto

Skill Level: Intermediate
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


Pork Belly

  • 2 lbs pork belly skin removed
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic minced

Shiitake Mushroom Syrup

  • 16 oz shiitake mushrooms stems and caps separated
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups hot chicken stock
  • 2 shallots or 1 small white onion minced
  • cup ½dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper

Soft shell Crab Tempura

  • 4 Cameron’s Seafood Maryland soft shell crabs thawed
  • 1 cup tempura flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup cold club soda or sparkling water
  • cooking oil for frying
  • salt and pepper


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and blanch the pork belly for 5 minutes. Remove it from the water and score the fat side of the meat in a diamond pattern. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, five spice, and garlic. Rub the mixture into the scored fat of the pork belly and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the pork belly from the fridge and place it fat side up in a roasting pan over a wire rack. Roast the belly for about 45 minutes or until the fat is crispy.
  3. While the pork belly is cooking, start making the shiitake syrup and the risotto. Heat the sesame oil in a medium sized sauce pan. Sauté the shiitake caps until browned and then remove. Sauté the stems and remove them. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the pan and simmer until reduced to ¼ of the volume. Make a slurry by mixing together the 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and stir into the shiitake liquid. Simmer until mixture thickens. Add salt and soy sauce to taste.
  4. In a medium pot, cook the shallots in butter until soft and translucent, adding salt to taste. Toast the rice and stir until fragrant. Pour in the white wine and cook for 30 seconds, or until the wine is absorbed. Over medium heat, add the stock one ladle at a time, and stir continuously. Make sure the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding another ladle. Continue doing this until the rice is slightly chewy, about 20 minutes.
  5. In a large pot, heat 3 inches of oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, whisk together the tempura flour, egg, and enough soda water that the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Dip the soft shell crabs into the batter one at a time and fry until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the crabs from the oil as they are cooked and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the risotto into 4 bowls. Place a piece of pork belly on one half of the risotto and a soft shell crab on the other half. Drizzle the shiitake syrup over everything and serve immediately.

Buy Maryland Soft Shell Crabs Online

If you haven’t already discovered it, Cameron’s online store is where you can purchase Maryland soft shell crabs for quick delivery. There are also a myriad of other seafood options available for purchase as well.

We would love to see your tempura soft shell crab recipe with pork risotto photos on Instagram! You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy the soft shell crab season!

By: Melanie Craighead


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