Marinated Crab with Asian Greens
We’re lucky to have amazing seafood in Australia and I love dressing it up with this recipe. This is one to bring out for that special occasion, when you want to offer something more than your ordinary dinner but don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. With just a little bit of preparation, you can really impress your guests with this dish, and still have plenty of time to socialise.
The best thing though is that it's cheap, it's messy and a lot of fun.
- 4 blue swimmer crabs, gills removed and cut into quarters
- 1 teaspoon peanut oil
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger or galangal, minced
- ½ cup sambal paste
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons palm, coconut or caster sugar
- 3 spring onions, cut in half lengthways and into 5cm batons
- 5 lenghts of bok choy, washed and cut in half lengthways
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonnade (very finely sliced)
- Juice of 2 juicy limes
- A good bunch of fresh coriander
Place a large saucepan over high heat. Half fill with water and bring to the boil. Add a steamer basket or colander over the top and add the whole crab.
Cover and let steam for 6 -8 minutes or until the shells are bright red. Remove and place on a chopping board.
If you are unsure on how to prepare a crab, here’s what you do. Underneath, there is a flap. Open that, and continue to pull upwards to remove the top shell. When you pull off the top shell. Clean that out, reserving the innards to eat or discard if you’re not a fan, then set it aside for steaming and presentation.Back to the body. Looking down at your crab, where you just removed the shell, you will see little finger looking things that are a little fury. Simply pull those out (the gills). Give the crab a quick rinse and cut into quarters. Using the back of the knife, lightly crack the larger claws so that the sauce penetrates the meat, adding more flavour. It might seem tricky, but once you give it a go, you’ll do the old….. Oh! That was so easy!
Place a large wok onto high heat. Once hot, add peanut oil and swirl around the wok. Add shallots, garlic and ginger/galangal. Stir fry for 1 minute, then add sambal paste. Bring up to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add fish sauce and sugar. Cook to reduce down for 2-3 minutes, then add the spring onion and bok choy. Cook for a further minute then add cooked crab.
Using two spatulas or wooden spoons, combine sauce with crab, then season with salt. Garnish wish kaffir lime leaves, lime juice and fresh coriander. Add the whole crab shell to the top of the dish for that extra touch, then serve with some freshly steamed rice.
This is a dish based on balance to your own palate. There is a lot of sambal paste (chilli) in this dish so it’s going to be hot! Hot! Hot!, which is how I like it. To dull down the heat, add a little more sugar (sweetness), fish sauce (saltiness), or lime juice (acidity). These ingredients are what make up the balance to this dish, so experiment to suit your own palate.
Good luck. Enjoy and don’t be scared to get your hands dirty. It’s almost impossible not too and part of the fun.