Chinese Crab Roll

Our version of crab rolls don’t involved short-grain sushi rice. Rather, the crab meat and other fillings are wrapped with pork skin or dried beancurd skin. They go by the name of “cun kien” in the local Chinese dialect, and I christened as Chinese Crab Roll. The rolls are steamed and deep-fry with batter. This dish is fancy and only prepared during special holiday or old-style functions such as weddings or birthdays. I don’t see why the restrictions. They are so yummy. We should have them everyday!

These are dried tofu skin we will be using in rolling the crab filling. They are sold in Asian groceries in plastic bags. They are about 50cm by 50cm sheet. Smaller or bigger sheets are okay. You can adjust the size and length of the rolls yourself.

Get some fresh crab meat. We got a big bunch of crab meat with crab roe. In fact, it has more orange-ish roe than white crab meat.

Prepare some ground pork. It should have a little bit of fat in it.

Put everything in a mixing bowl. Shred crab meat into smaller pieces.

Add chopped onion, garlic, carrot, and egg in the mixture. Mix well.

Toss in the rest of the ingredients, tapioca starch, sesame oil and soy sauce. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Final crab roll mixture will look like this. Gooey and rich with delicious and hearty ingredients.

Spread tofu skin on clean working surface. Use a damp cloth, lightly wipe both surface of the tofu skin. Be gentle since the skin will be extremely delicate and easy be torn up. When it does, it is not the end of the world though. Just avoid using the torn part.

Divide the mixture into 5-8 parts depending on the length of the rolls you wish to make. We made the 3ocm rolls and divided the mixture into 5 parts. Place the crab mixture horizontally at the end of the skin nearest to you.

Start pressing down and rolling the skin away from you. Apply pressure lightly to remove air bubble inside the rolls.

When the beginning of the skin reaches the other half of the skin, cut the skin about 3cm from the meeting point. Carefully roll the skin into a long neat roll.

Carefully seal the edges by crimping the tofu skin by hands.

Before steaming, wrap all rolls with aluminum foil and steam them using a double steamer over boiling water.

Unwrap the foil and let cool. Cut them into serving sizes as desired.

The sun was really on top of our heads. Unflattering images.

Dip them in batter before deep=frying

Deep-fry in hot oil for a couple of minutes till golden brown on all sides.

Remove from oil and drain excess oil on paper towel. Serve as part of main course with steamed rice or as pretty appetizers with ladle-shaped spoons with sweet chili sauce as dipping.

Not a fan of deep-frying? Cut the rolls into thinner pieces, diagonally or straight. You can pan-fry with just a little bit of oil, without batter, of course. It is just as delicious!


Chinese Crab Roll

Makes 5-30cm rolls


Filling for rolls

250 g crab meat
500 g pork
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 tbsp salt
100 g carrot, chopped finely
1 egg
75 g tapioca starch
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 sheet dried beancurd skin

Batter for frying
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp baking powder


Combine all ingredients for filling in a bowl and mix well. Divide the filling mixture into 5 parts

Spread out the skin on working surface and arrange the filling on the end of the sheet nearest to you and slowly roll the skin until the filling is fully covered, away from you. Slightly apply pressure along the roll to make sure there is no air bubble. The roll has to be tight. Do this with the rest of the mixture

Wrap individual rolls with aluminium foil and steam for 30 minutes

Remove from heat and let cool.

To prepare batter for deep-frying

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Lightly whisk until the flour dissolve and no lumps appeared

Cut the rolls into 3-4cm bite size pieces. Dip the rolls into the batter and deep-fry till golden, for about 3 minutes.

Serve warm with rice and other dishes or as appetizers

| More |

17 Responses to “Chinese Crab Roll”

  1. 1

    Lia Chen — December 7, 2010 @ 4:44 am

    Always love your yummy cooking post, beautiful and clear pictures, and step-by-step pictorial. Awesome! We called this ca-kien. The crab meat looks so fresh and crunchy tofu skin makes me so hungry now (^.^)

    • Jun replied: — December 7th, 2010 @ 5:36 am

      We call this cun-kien. I forgot to put that down. Thank you for reminding me, Lia! :)

  2. 2

    Arudhi — December 7, 2010 @ 8:18 am

    First cwie mie at Peppy`s page and now these rolls at yours. Today is hard! :D
    I still have tofu skin left in my fridge (here people call it “yuba” and I hope it`s the same thing) and I think I`ll try making the rolls. Terimakasih ya :)

    • Jun replied: — December 14th, 2010 @ 11:02 am

      You are welcome, Arudhi!

  3. 3

    Nancy/SpicieFoodie — December 7, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

    Wow, your Crab rolls are making my mouth water. I’ve never had crab rolls like this and will now be craving them. Your photos are so beautiful, so is everything on your blog. I’m looking forward to visiting often.

    • Jun replied: — December 14th, 2010 @ 11:01 am

      Thank you for dropping by, Nancy!

  4. 4

    Trissa — December 8, 2010 @ 12:27 am

    JUN! I hate you! You are so damn talented and you make me want try and make this. I love tofu skin – I order these “rolls” all the time but NEVER thought to make it myself. You need to write a book!

    • Jun replied: — December 14th, 2010 @ 11:01 am

      You always say the nicest thing!

  5. 5

    Tuty — December 8, 2010 @ 10:04 am

    These rolls look so divine…. superb step by step photographs.
    The crab roe is to die for. I miss our native green crabs. Sweet and delicious. Dungeness crabs are good but male only :-( Blue crabs may have some roe but they’re too tiny for me to pick over the meat. Sigh… drooling over my keyboard.

    • Jun replied: — December 14th, 2010 @ 11:00 am

      I have never heard of green crabs! Now I can’t rest until I find some! :)

  6. 6

    Dhi — December 23, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    Hi Jun, thanks for stopping by my site. Your site is amazing and this particular recipe made me drool. Oh yummm!

    • Jun replied: — December 26th, 2010 @ 10:10 am

      Thank you! :)

  7. 7

    Sabrina — January 24, 2011 @ 1:31 am

    Hello Jun
    I am a Singaporean living in Lyon, France and I have tried many of your recipes and wish to tell you that you are by far the best of all I’ve tried. You bring me so close to home, thank you.

  8. 8

    Irene Sloan — January 27, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    Hi Jun,
    I searched for cun kien recipe and came across with your website. I’m also from Medan n currently live in the UK. This is the one dish that I have been longing for. Now that I have found the recipe, will definitely give it a go. I’m your new fan now.

  9. 9

    Gina Tan — September 9, 2011 @ 3:45 am


    I am actually hoping to connect with one of the commentators here by the name “Sabrina” who says she is living in Lyon, France. I am also a Singaporean living in Lyon. If there is some way I can contact Sabrina, that would be great. Thank you June.


  10. 10

    Chuany — October 25, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    Hai Jun.

    this morning i cook this, and it is delish.

    I am ur new fans. will try many of ur recipe by next week.

    This is the second n I LOVE IT..

    thx for sharing ^__^


    • Jun replied: — October 25th, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

      Thank you so much! I am so happy it works for you.

Leave a Comment