Crab coconut soup at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill in Mayfair, London

Thai Crab & Mussel Soup Recipe

500g mussels
100ml white wine
1 medium crab — cooked and prepared, white meat and shells reserved
A little vegetable oil
4 x 400ml tins coconut milk
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar
Fresh lime juice, to taste
½ bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
Coriander leaves


50g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
50g fresh galangal, roughly chopped
2 sticks lemongrass, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded
4 cloves garlic
2 shallots, chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves
A bunch of coriander, leaves picked, stalks reserved

  1. Scrub the mussels in plenty of running water to remove any barnacles and beards. Discard any that are open or won’t close when tapped. Put into a pan over a high heat with the white wine, cover with a lid, and cook quite fiercely until the mussels steam open. Strain the cooking liquor through a fine sieve and reserve. Discard any mussels that have stayed closed, and keep the rest on one side.

  2. Setting aside the coriander leaves, put the rest of the paste ingredients into a blender and whiz until smooth.

  3. Smash up the crab shells and fry them in a large saucepan with a little vegetable oil until they are nicely coloured.

  4. Carefully open the tins of coconut milk (do not shake them and keep them the right way up). Spoon the cream from the top of the tins into a wok or large saucepan. At the same time, put the crab shells into a pan with the coconut water from the tins, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

  5. While the shells are simmering, heat the coconut cream over a gentle heat and let it melt. Add the spicy paste and cook gently for a couple of minutes until the spices release their aromas, taking care that the mixture doesn’t catch and burn (if you are worried you can add a touch of vegetable oil).

  6. Add the cooking liquor from the mussels to the pan containing the crab shells, then tip into the pan with the paste, and stir well to combine. Take off the heat.

  7. Pass the soup through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar. Taste, and if necessary add a little more of one or both.

  8. To serve, arrange some white crab meat and mussels in each bowl. Pour the piping hot soup over the top, and squeeze in some lime juice to taste. Finish with the spring onions and coriander leaves.