Atul Kochhar’s Crispy Soft-Shell Crab with Avocado Panna Cottas recipe

To celebrate the versatility of the avocado, the World Avocado Organization (WAO) challenged some of the UK’s top chefs to create a dish with the avocado as the star ingredient as part of the #AvoMyWay challenge.

WAO chose the winning recipes as a testament to the chefs’ creativity and flair as well as the avocado’s unique versatility as an ingredient. COYA’s Sanjay Dwivedi created a sumptuous avocado mousse with coconut, passion fruit sorbet and rice crackers while Tom Aikens from Muse reinvented a classic with his avocado cannelloni.

See also: Steven Frampton’s Pan-Fried Grouse With Cranberry and Mushrooms

Avocado is not just being bought as an ingredient in the kitchen. Providing a wealth of essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and minerals, the avocado is proving popular in at-home skincare. Avocado oil soothes burnt skin and boasts regenerative properties for both the face and hair.

We’re presenting Atul Kochhar of Vaasu’s Hawkyns’ Crispy Soft-shell Crab with Avocado Panna Cottas recipe.

Serves Four


  • 4 jumbo soft-shelled crabs, cleaned and patted dry
  • sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • Sea salt
  • Seeds from ½ passion fruit, to garnish
  • Very finely chopped chives, to garnish
  • About 100g cooked fresh white crab meat, flaked, to serve
  • 8 mini poppadoms, deep-fried, to serve

    For the avocado panna cottas
  • 1 silverleaf gelatine leaf
  • 50ml milk
  • 100g avocado flesh (about ¾ avocado)
  • 60ml double cream
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely
  • ground, plus extra for dusting

    For the marinade
  • 2 teaspoons white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger–Garlic Paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

    See also: The Biscuiteers’ Decorative Christmas Gingerbread House

    For the passion fruit and chilli sauce
  • 150ml passion fruit purée
  • 50g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons
    water to make a smooth paste

    For the salad
  • ½ small red apple
  • ½ small green apple
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chives cut into 5cm lengths
  • 1 teaspoon very finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons Vinaigrette
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lime

See also: Belinda Williams’ Pumpkin Soup with Cep Mushrooms


  • First make the avocado panna cottas. Soak the gelatine leaf in a bowl of water to soften for about 5 minutes. Heat the milk in a small saucepan. When the milk simmers, remove the pan from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaf and add it to the
    pan, stirring to dissolve. Set aside to cool.
  • Place the avocado flesh in a mini food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the cream and cooled milk mixture, ground cumin and salt to taste and blitz again to combine. Divide this mixture among twelve 2.5cm silicon moulds and place in the fridge for at least
    2 hours to set.
  • Whisk all the ingredients for the marinade together in a non-metallic bowl and rub all over the crabs. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place all the ingredients, except the diluted cornflour, into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Add the cornflour mixture and continue simmering for 3–5
    minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt to taste and set aside to cool.
  • Make the salad as close as possible to serving. Core and cut the red and green apples into julienne sticks. Put them in a non-metallic bowl with the chives and almonds, then toss with the vinaigrette and lime zest. Set aside.
  • About 5 minutes before serving, pop the panna cottas into the freezer to firm up. You will then be able to just push them out of the silicone moulds.
  • Heat the oil for deep-frying to 190°C. Add the crabs and fry for 2–3 minutes until crisp.
  • Drain on kitchen paper to remove the excess oil. Present the crabs with the panna cottas, apple salad, crab meat on mini poppadoms and the passion fruit and chilli sauce spooned over and around. Garnish and serve immediately.

See also: Nigella Lawson’s Fennel Gratin

This is just one of the recipes chosen to celebrate the versatility of the avocado by the World Avocado Organization (WAO) which challenged some of the UK’s top chefs to create a dish with the avocado as the star ingredient as part of the #AvoMyWay challenge.

See also: Claudia Roden’s Quail with Caramelized Onions and Brandy

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