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Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Curried Crab

Curried Crab façon Pim
Pu Pad Pong Kari

serves 6 hungry crab eaters

I made this last weekend for the first time, and Linda compelled me to write up a recipe. It was reminiscent of a dish from my childhood. I practically lived on it every summer in Hua Hin, a beach town in the South of Thailand. I've never seen how it was actually made while there, but this was as close as I could get to it from my own taste memory. Dave, Benjamin and Chris said it was the best crab dish they've ever tasted, so I think I did alright. :-)

In Thailand this dish is always made from live crabs, but it's not always easy to find those critters alive so I came up with a way to use cooked dungeness crabs in this recipe.

4 large dungeness crabs, use only fresh ones, if you couldn't find fresh crab, just forget about making this dish
2 tbsp Madras curry powder
1 large onion
1 small bunch of green onions
2-3 stalks of garlic greens + 3 cloves of garlic, or just 6 cloves of garlic if you can't find green garlic
1/2 - 1 cup chicken stock or water
fish sauce

mise en place
crab: rinse and separate the shells from the bodies, reserve all the juicy stuff inside the shells. Clean up the body by pulling out the stuff that looks like insulation, or crab's weather stripping in Linda's words. You know, those white spongy stuff clinging to the crab's body. You get the picture, yes? Then, break of large legs and claws, and crack them slightly. Cut each body first in half, then each half into 2-3 pieces depending on how large your crabs are.
onion: slice thinly
garlic: mince
green onions and garlic greens , cut into 1 inch pieces, if the stalks are thick, smash them a bit

now you cook
heat a large pan with some oil, use light tasting and high heat oil, like Safflower
add onion and cook until soft and translucent
add the curry powder and minced garlic, let cook for a few minutes with the onion, don't burn it, add a bit of water if it gets too dry
add the juicy stuff reserved from the shells, add fish sauce to taste
let it cook and bubble for two minutes
depending on how much liquid you get from the shells, add 1/2 to 1 cup stock or just plain water. You want enough liquid to coat all the crab pieces
now add the crabs
stir it all up, make sure all the crab pieces are well coated with the curry liquid
cover the pot, with the lid if there's one, otherwise use aluminum foil
let the whole thing brew for five minutes, stirring a few times, until the liquid reduces by about half, or until the crabs are heated through and pick up the flavor from the yummy curry sauce,
a minute or two before it's done, throw in the green onions and garlic, give it a good stir
taste, add more fish sauce if needed.

serve with jasmine rice bien sur

If you find this recipe useful, please consider giving a few dollars to help my charity drive for Doctors without Borders by clicking on the picture below.


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