Tofu and crab simmer pot (xie huang dou fu) – a simple Chinese recipe

Crab is a popular dish to include when celebrating Chinese New Year, and since it’s only 2 weeks away, we’d like to share this simple tofu and crab simmer pot recipe – it has minimal frying so is a good one to try if you don’t like the smoke from stir frying at home.

This recipe is one of the used traditionally to emulate the rarer and more expensive crab meat (another being imitated crab/sai pang xie), and can be made with duck egg yolk instead of crab meat. However, since crab is easier to buy nowadays, it’s rarely made with just eggs. In this recipe, we’re using cooked prawns and crab meat, as that’s the easiest to buy in supermarkets here. If you’re using raw forms, please steam these beforehand or increase the cooking times. It’s really important to buy 50/50 white and brown crab meat, as this recipe can’t be made with just white crab meat. It’s also important to use silken tofu instead of firm or soft.

The follow serves 2, and takes roughly 5 minutes to prep and 10-15 minutes to cook.


200g of silken tofu
50g of prawns
2 tbsps of cornstarch
1 egg
50g of brown crab meat
1 tbsp of chopped ginger
50g of white crab meat
50g of edamame beans
1 tsp of rice wine
A few stalks of coriander (optional)

You’ll also need a little cooking oil and salt to taste.

Step 1: slice the tofu into cubes that are roughly 1cm across. Cut the prawns into roughly 1cm sections and set aside.


Step 2: dissolve the cornstarch in a few tbsps of boiling water so that it’s a paste. Set aside.

Step 3: beat the egg with a tsp of water and a pinch of salt added in. Add the brown crab meat into this and mix thoroughly, then set aside. That’s the end of prep work.

Step 4: in a small simmering pan, add a small amount of oil on high heat and add the chopped ginger to this. Wait for it to bubble before adding the prawns and white crab meat.

Step 5: add the edamame, stir well, then after a minute, add in the tofu. Again, stir well, add the rice wine and salt to taste, then pour in the cornstarch paste. Turn onto low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.


Step 6: pour the egg and brown crab mix into the pot, stir well and simmer for another 5 minutes.


Step 7: add in the coriander, if using, and add any more salt to taste. Remove from the pan and serve!


It’s really easy to make, and if you can’t get hold of edamame beans, you can also try replacing these with peas – just reduce the cooking time and add the peas at a later stage. It’s also possible to add corn instead for a slightly sweeter taste. Which do you prefer?


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


One thought on “Tofu and crab simmer pot (xie huang dou fu) – a simple Chinese recipe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s