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Pictorial: Crab in Ginger and Green Onion

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#1 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 02:32 AM

Crab with Ginger and Green Onion (薑蔥蟹)

Dungeness crab is in season. Live crab is on sale for only US$2.49 a pound. Can't miss this opportunity to make some crab dishes at home. Cooking live crab is a little bit of work, but the reward of eating fresh and sweet crab meat is well worth it.

Picture of the finished dish:
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Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3


Preparations:

The general rule for serving suggestion is 1 crab per person.

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Main ingredients: (From right to left) 2 live Dungeness crabs, about 3.5 lb. Garlic, about 5 to 6 cloves. Ginger, about 3 inches in length. Green onions, about 10 stalks (small ones).

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"... You want a piece of me? You want a piece of me??? Come and get it!"

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Live crabs are dangerous. Their claws can make a painful pinch on your fingers and their legs are pointy. You need to know how to handle them safely. You may want to ask the fish mungers to clean and cut them for you. I like to keep my crabs alive until cooking time.

To hold a live crab safely, you need to grab it from the back so that their claws cannot reach you, as shown in the picture.

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Where my knife is pointing to is the tail of a crab. After you kill the crab, you need to unroll its tail and break it off.

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To kill a live crab, point your knife right underneath its mouth. Push the knief in by a few inches. Jiggle it a little bit. (You may need to use the left hand to hold down the crab while operating the knife with your right hand.) Remove the knife. Use your left thumb to poke into the hole cut opened by your knife and hold the crab bottom with the rest of your left palm. Lift it up. Use your right hand to grab the main shell. Tear the shell apart from the rest of its body.

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There are a few unedible parts (shown with red circles). The 2 circles on each side are the gills. Remove and discard. The lower circle around the mouth are also unedible. Use the knife to break some of the shells and remove the organs. The white curly part (upper small circle) are also some internal organs. Remove and discard. Anything that doesn't look like crab meat, remove and discard. Rinse under running water.

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If you like to keep the main shell for plating, use a small tooth brush to clean the crab hair underneath the main shell. Be sure you remove and discard the white cloudy substance inside the shell.

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Cut the crab body into 2 halves right in the middle. Then twist off the claws and legs. Use the knife to cut off the big piece. Use a kitchen mallet or the handle of your cleaver to crack the shells before cooking.

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Same treatment for the second victim. Prepare the other ingredients: Green onions - trim ends and cut at about 1 inch in length. Ginger: peel and cut into thin slices. Garlic: minced.


Cooking Instructions:

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First: velvet the crab in hot oil.

Use a pan/wok, set stove at high, add a generous 10 tblsp of cooking/frying oil. Wait until oil start fuming.

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Use a small bowl and add about 10 tsp of corn starch. Dust the crab meat with corn starch.

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Place the pieces on the pan and fry the crab pieces for about 3 to 5 minutes.

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Only need to use corn starch to dust the exposed crab meat outside the shell. When done, remove the crab pieces from pan and drain excess oil.

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I need to cook the crab in 2 batches. I tossed in the 2 crab shells (upside down) to cook. (It's optional. Only if you care to eat it or use it for plating.) Remove from pan when done.

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Start with a clean wok/pan. Add 3 tblsp of cooking oil. Wait until oil starts fuming. Add minced garlic, sliced ginger and half of the chopped green onions (white portion only). Add 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste).

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Dash in 3 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine. (Can't go wrong with going heavy on the cooking wine with this dish.) Let it induce a quick flame. Stir well. Cook for 30 seconds.

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Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 3 to 4 tsp of oyster sauce. Stir. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the remaining portion of the green onions.

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Use corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce. (Suggest 2 tsp of corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp of water.) Adjust and make the sauce to the right consistency.

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Return the crab and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

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Stir. Make sure each piece is coated with the sauce.

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Finished. Transfer to a serving plate.

Edited by hzrt8w, 18 December 2005 - 04:22 PM.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#2 divalasvegas

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 03:01 AM

Beautiful and delicious as usual hzrt8w. It appears that you have "boy" crabs. Could you elaborate on what you leave behind in the main shell? Is the golden brownish substance the crab liver? Any other parts kept? In this part of the USA the blue crab is king/queen and I assume that they're pretty similar inside, am I right?

As for prepping them live, I have to say NO WAY! The only live crabs I prep live are softshells since they're too soft to fight back. :biggrin:
Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

#3 Shalmanese

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:28 AM

Hrmm... interesting, I've never heard of disassembling a crab raw before. Usually, I will steam them, then rip them apart. Do you find it's easier/harder to do it raw?
PS: I am a guy.

#4 Dejah

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 08:18 AM

It's a good idea to leave the rubber bands on the crab claws until after it takes it's last gasp of air... :rolleyes:

Last summer was the first time I'd ever cut up a live crab. One of our elders instructed me to insert a wooden chopstick into its mouth. It's safer than a knife and delivers the same effect. Also, you can use the chopstick, still in its mouth, as a lever to separate the shell from the body.

Another hint is to put the crabs into the freezer for about an hour. This "lulls them to sleep" if you are squeamish (they don't fight back as much).

The idea of dissembling the crab before cooking is to let the flavours get right into the meat as it cooks. It's quicker using pre-cooked crab, but then, I'd want to dip it in garlic butter!

We had a discussing about the "brown stuff" in another thread. Can't recall the name for this. It's my sister's favourite. I ate it for the first time last year and it's good!

Ginger, green onions, garlic and wine are essential in stir-frying crab. I like adding dow cee and Thia chilis to the crab...messy to eat but so good! :wub:

One of our stores will steam the crab or lobster for you while you shop. Dungeness are selling at 4.98/lb. I've been waiting for a quiet evening to have a seafood feast. Tonight might be a good time as our daughter is finished exams. Hooray! She's human again. :laugh:

Edited by Dejah, 18 December 2005 - 08:22 AM.

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#5 OnigiriFB

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:21 AM

*sigh* we really need a drool smiley! Wonderful. Looks delicious. Wish I could get fresh crab here :sad:

Love these home cooking threads. Thanks hzrt8w :wub:

#6 BarbaraY

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 10:25 AM

Best pictorial I've ever seen on disecting a crab. Thank You.

#7 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 12:19 PM

[...]  It appears that you have "boy" crabs.  Could you elaborate on what you leave behind in the main shell?  Is the golden brownish substance the crab liver?  Any other parts kept?  In this part of the USA the blue crab is king/queen and I assume that they're pretty similar inside, am I right?

As for prepping them live, I have to say NO WAY!  The only live crabs I prep live are softshells since they're too soft to fight back. :biggrin:

View Post

Thank you, divalasvegas. I was afraid that this question would be brought up. :unsure: I don't know how to tell the "boy" and "girl" crabs apart. It does make sense. The only thing I left behind was the golden brownish/greenish substance. I don't know enough about the anatomy of exoskeletal animals and don't exactly know what it is. Perhaps someone can enlighten us. When I ordered crabs in Chinese restaurants (made the same way), I love to eat this greenish/brownish paste under the shell. When I made this dish the other night, I might have over-velveted the shells. The paste turned very bitter and I ended up not eating much of it.

Handling a live Dungeness is not too hard, actually. Like Dejah said, you can slow them down - putting them to sleep - by putting them in the freezer for an hour before you process them.

Edited by hzrt8w, 18 December 2005 - 12:19 PM.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#8 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 12:32 PM

Hrmm... interesting, I've never heard of disassembling a crab raw before. Usually, I will steam them, then rip them apart. Do you find it's easier/harder to do it raw?

View Post

This is when we Chinese show off our warriorship, Shalmanese! I am only kidding... :biggrin:

Live crabs are not that hard to handle, really. Even when they are putting in their final struggle, we humans always have the upperhand - we have sharp knives. Just grab the crab from the back end so it can't hurt us. To make this Cantonese dish, we don't steam the crabs separately to preserve the flavor.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#9 wesza

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 04:10 PM

Ah Leung:

You have done it again: This photo recipe is the clearest, best method of cleaning, butchering and preparing Crab that I have ever seen anywhere.

For other readers information: Only Male Dungeness Crabs are permitted to be kept anywhere on the Pacific Coast. The Lady's are allowed freedom to continue seducing vulnerable males who apparently are attracted to every lady they meet so we may all enjoy eating Crab. I sometimes feel sorry for all the Male Crabs that never got lucky, but then I'm only a male. I do justify myself by eating only female Lobsters.

The same method of cleaning and preparing Crab illustrated is applicable to every Crab Species, and I have never seen a Crab that didn't taste good.

Maybe next time Ah Leung will prepare Crab with Black Bean Sauce and Chilli's as it's perfect for the winter when prices are low enough everyone can afford this delicacy.

Irwin
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#10 divalasvegas

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 05:38 PM

[...]  It appears that you have "boy" crabs.  Could you elaborate on what you leave behind in the main shell?  Is the golden brownish substance the crab liver?  Any other parts kept?  In this part of the USA the blue crab is king/queen and I assume that they're pretty similar inside, am I right?

As for prepping them live, I have to say NO WAY!  The only live crabs I prep live are softshells since they're too soft to fight back. :biggrin:

View Post

Thank you, divalasvegas. I was afraid that this question would be brought up. :unsure: I don't know how to tell the "boy" and "girl" crabs apart. It does make sense. The only thing I left behind was the golden brownish/greenish substance. I don't know enough about the anatomy of exoskeletal animals and don't exactly know what it is. Perhaps someone can enlighten us. When I ordered crabs in Chinese restaurants (made the same way), I love to eat this greenish/brownish paste under the shell. When I made this dish the other night, I might have over-velveted the shells. The paste turned very bitter and I ended up not eating much of it.

Handling a live Dungeness is not too hard, actually. Like Dejah said, you can slow them down - putting them to sleep - by putting them in the freezer for an hour before you process them.

View Post


Thanks again hzrt8w for your wonderful pics and explanations of your recipes. I'd like to know how to adapt what you've shown us so far to create a crab dish with chili sauce. Anyway the link below shows what I mean by "boy" crab as opposed to "girl" crab. In these parts the part that identifies the male is often called the "monument" after the Washington Monument while the females are called the "Capitol" after our US Capitol. The "gooshy" stuff in the male, at least to my understanding is the liver, while in the female it's the roe. I enjoy eating them both.

Blue Crab Gender Identification

As for the Maryland/Chesapeake Bay blue crabs I grew up with, it's pretty easy to tell them apart. The boys are called "jimmies" and the girls have "aprons" and are called "sallies," at least that's what I was told to call them. I have a friend who lives in the same area as I do but who grew up in North Carolina (poor thing: my family is from Virginia and South Carolina) :biggrin: who has told me on numerous occasions that she and her family would clean live blue crabs before steaming. Again we NEVER did this when I was growing up since blue crabs can be very fiesty, nasty critters and would show your fingers and knuckles no mercy! :shock:

Take care.
Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

#11 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:02 PM

Blue Crab Gender Identification

View Post

Thank you for the additional information about male/female crabs, divalasvegas and wesza.

After reading that article, it is very obvious that the 2 crabs I bought were both males. And wesza's explanations made a lot of sense. I remember cooking Dungeness crabs bought from San Francisco China Town in the late 80's and remember having crabs with roes in the belly. But not in recent years.

As for chili crabs: I had that dish in Singapore once (along with curry crabs). Both were excellent. I had tried to reproduce chili crabs only once. First prepare the crab and velvet the pieces in oil as depicted in this post. To season: heat up some cooking oil, add lots of minced garlic, a bit of salt. Add minced (or sliced) fresh chili, some Chinese hot chili sauce (a little bit sour based). Dash in cooking wine and a bit of white vinegar. Then add a bit of broth and 1/2 to 1 small can of tomato sauce (depending how dry/wet you want this dish). If needed, thicken the sauce with corn starch slurry. Return the crab pieces and cook for a few more minutes.

Chili crabs are rarely offered in Cantonese restaurants. (Actually I have never seen it on the menus of the Cantonese restaurants that I had visited.)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#12 spaghetttti

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:06 PM

Elsethread on eG is a topic on Licking the Pot, fuggetaboutit! We're talking serious Lick the Screen for this one. It really looks amazing, hzrt8w!
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#13 jeniac42

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:06 PM

Wow. Another very impressive pictorial. Now that it's winter break from school and I'll have some free time, I'm going to have to try some of these dishes.

I don't think I'll be trying anything with live crabs, though. I'm afraid of injuring myself, but the real reason is that it just seems like it would be too messy to clean up after such an endeavor in my home kitchen. Sometimes I really miss the giant prep tables we had in the restaurant....
Jennie

#14 divalasvegas

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:28 PM


Blue Crab Gender Identification

View Post

Thank you for the additional information about male/female crabs, divalasvegas and wesza.

After reading that article, it is very obvious that the 2 crabs I bought were both males. And wesza's explanations made a lot of sense. I remember cooking Dungeness crabs bought from San Francisco China Town in the late 80's and remember having crabs with roes in the belly. But not in recent years.

As for chili crabs: I had that dish in Singapore once (along with curry crabs). Both were excellent. I had tried to reproduce chili crabs only once. First prepare the crab and velvet the pieces in oil as depicted in this post. To season: heat up some cooking oil, add lots of minced garlic, a bit of salt. Add minced (or sliced) fresh chili, some Chinese hot chili sauce (a little bit sour based). Dash in cooking wine and a bit of white vinegar. Then add a bit of broth and 1/2 to 1 small can of tomato sauce (depending how dry/wet you want this dish). If needed, thicken the sauce with corn starch slurry. Return the crab pieces and cook for a few more minutes.

Chili crabs are rarely offered in Cantonese restaurants. (Actually I have never seen it on the menus of the Cantonese restaurants that I had visited.)

View Post


Thanks so much for the chili crab recipe hrzt8w. I'll have to try it. I think you mentioned $2.49/lb for Dungeness crabs; what a bargain that would be here. You really made my day! :smile: Well you and the local football team:

Washington 35, Dallas 7.

Yes indeed, today is a very good day :biggrin:

Edited by divalasvegas, 18 December 2005 - 09:14 PM.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

#15 wesza

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:08 PM


Blue Crab Gender Identification

View Post

Thank you for the additional information about male/female crabs, divalasvegas and wesza.

After reading that article, it is very obvious that the 2 crabs I bought were both males. And wesza's explanations made a lot of sense. I remember cooking Dungeness crabs bought from San Francisco China Town in the late 80's and remember having crabs with roes in the belly. But not in recent years.

As for chili crabs: I had that dish in Singapore once (along with curry crabs). Both were excellent. I had tried to reproduce chili crabs only once. First prepare the crab and velvet the pieces in oil as depicted in this post. To season: heat up some cooking oil, add lots of minced garlic, a bit of salt. Add minced (or sliced) fresh chili, some Chinese hot chili sauce (a little bit sour based). Dash in cooking wine and a bit of white vinegar. Then add a bit of broth and 1/2 to 1 small can of tomato sauce (depending how dry/wet you want this dish). If needed, thicken the sauce with corn starch slurry. Return the crab pieces and cook for a few more minutes.

Chili crabs are rarely offered in Cantonese restaurants. (Actually I have never seen it on the menus of the Cantonese restaurants that I had visited.)

View Post


Ah Leung:

Crab with Black Bean Sauce and Chili is almost as popular as Crab with Ginger and Green Onion in the Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong, Seattle and New York. I have eaten it in San Francisco and LA as well, but not Sacramento.

The "Chili Crab" is a Singapore/Malay specialty that is made by a very different recipe, also very lively and delicious.

Irwin
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#16 Pan

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:28 PM

[...]Ginger, green onions, garlic and wine are essential in stir-frying crab. I like adding dow cee and Thia chilis to the crab...messy to eat but so good! :wub: [...]

View Post


Sue-On, what's dow cee?

Yet another great pictorial, Ah Leung! And I love this dish.

#17 rjwong

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:37 PM

dow see is Chinese fermented black beans, used for flavoring, as in dow see pai gwut (steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce).

edited to add: My apologies for stepping in, Pan & Dejah.

FYI Here's one of several discussion threads about Dungeness crab.

Edited by rjwong, 18 December 2005 - 10:13 PM.

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#18 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 10:00 PM

Crab with Black Bean Sauce and Chili is almost as popular as Crab with Ginger and Green Onion in the Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong, Seattle and New York. I have eaten it in San Francisco and LA as well, but not Sacramento.

View Post

spaghetttti: Lick the screen... ha ha ha... LOL. Your words made my day!


Irwin: Sorry I have misunderstood you. <<<Smacking my head>>> Of course! Crab with Black Bean Sauce and Chili. I had this at Zen Peninsula in Millbrae for the 8th moon 15th day dinner. Traditionally the Black Bean Sauce dishes in Cantonese cooking are quite saucey. This crab dish, however, is very dry. Almost no sauce at all. Kind of like "dry black bean and chili".

We can make that too. Prepare the crab and velvet the pieces in oil as depicted in the earlier post. (Assume 2 Dungeness crabs.)

To season: Heat up the pan/wok over high heat. Add 3 tblsp of cooking oil. Add 5 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced. 1 to 2 fresh chili, sliced or finely chopped. Grated ginger (or finely chopped), about 1 to 2 inch in length. 1/2 tsp of salt (go heavier on this one). 4 to 5 tsp of fermented black beans - no need to rinse, just crush them. Stir. Dash in 3 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine. Add a little bit of chicken broth (not too much, unless you want this dish saucey. If you do so, use corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce.) Return the crab pieces and cook for a few minutes. Ready.

Edited by hzrt8w, 18 December 2005 - 11:18 PM.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#19 muichoi

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 07:12 AM

Great illustrations! I've always deep-fried the crab, but shallow frying seems much more practical. I usually use bigger crabs, but it's a messy business, the whole thing, best done outside.

#20 AzianBrewer

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 07:44 AM

I just licked the monitor and the keyboard. Want me to go for the CPU?

Edited by AzianBrewer, 19 December 2005 - 07:44 AM.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

#21 Dejah

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 08:19 AM

dow see is Chinese fermented black beans, used for flavoring, as in dow see pai gwut (steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce).
edited to add: My apologies for stepping in, Pan & Dejah.
FYI Here's one of several discussion threads about Dungeness crab.

View Post



Russell,

No need to apologize. That's what so great about the forum: we can all step in to help. :smile:

The page you linked to is very informative. I just copied the "Pan-Roasted Salt & Pepper Crab With Ginger" recipe, and was reminded that the brown stuff we've been talking about is called tomally

Your one post solved two mysteries! :biggrin:
Dejah
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#22 kiliki

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 01:07 PM

That was a fantastic tutorial for one of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes.

My #1 favorite, something I cannot go a week without at one particular restaurant, is called Szechuan crab. It comes plated with a ton of dried red chilis and peanuts (oh, are the peanuts GOOD!), and I can tell there is szechuan peppercorn in the dish. Beyond that, I have always wondered what is in it, and if it is a dish commonly found in other restaurants either in the US or China. Does anyone know anything more about it?

#23 miladyinsanity

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:15 AM

If somebody wants my mom's chilli crab recipe, I'll volunteer to take pics and write down the recipe as she makes it--since she makes it by taste--the next time. Which will be soon I hope--I love crab.
May

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#24 hzrt8w

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:20 AM

If somebody wants my mom's chilli crab recipe, I'll volunteer to take pics and write down the recipe as she makes it[...]

View Post

miladyinsanity: I would love to see her chili crab recipe. Please take some pictures and share.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#25 miladyinsanity

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:58 PM

I will, when she cooks it. We have crab on the table when there's crab at the market, and it's the monsoon season, so it's not often. Sad, but true.

May--loves seafood of any kind
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#26 pcbilly

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 08:32 AM

Another great pictorial, the visual narrative is so clear that I think I can cook this dish just by following the pictures. :biggrin:

#27 Dejah

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 07:06 PM

Maybe next time Ah Leung will prepare Crab with Black Bean Sauce and Chilli's as it's perfect for the winter when prices are low enough everyone can afford this delicacy.Irwin

View Post


We had crab in black bean, garlic, and chili sauce with a twist tonight for supper.

It was a recipe from a small Malaysian cookbook published by Periplus Editions.
The recipes are from the cooks of Bon Ton Restaurant, KL, and Jonkers Restaurant, Malacca.

The recipe is called Black Pepper Crab. The crab pieces were deep fried first. Shallots, garlic, smashed fermented soy beans, black pepper, curry leaves, fresh chilis, and roasted ground dried prawns (I used hai mai) were then stir-fried in butter until fragrant, and it WAS fragrant!
The crab pieces were then returned to the wok with a little sugar, a touch of oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce.

This recipe took black bean garlic chili crab up a whole bunch of notches! It was spicy, sweet, salty. We ate small bits of jasmin rice and quick stir-fry of bean sprouts, ginger and green onions with this. What a delicious mess! :wub: :laugh:

I took a picture, but our son borrowed the camera tonight, so I will post tomorrow.

Edited by Dejah, 22 June 2006 - 07:07 PM.

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#28 hzrt8w

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 09:38 PM

The recipe is called Black Pepper Crab. The crab pieces were deep fried first. Shallots, garlic, smashed fermented soy beans, black pepper, curry leaves, fresh chilis, and roasted ground dried prawns (I used hai mai) were then stir-fried in butter until fragrant, and it WAS fragrant!
The crab pieces were then returned to the wok with a little sugar, a touch of oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce.

View Post

This seems very similar to the Hong Kong Typhoon Shelter Style Crab. Except the curry leaves and butter. Dried prawns <==> Chinese lap yuk.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#29 CFT

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 10:33 AM

Ah Leung, I thought you might enjoy some crab clips from youtube.

Tieing up the crab with bamboo strips:
De-shelling a crab, industrial style:
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#30 hzrt8w

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 11:32 AM

De-shelling a crab, industrial style:

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Thank you for the pointers to the clips, Chee Fai. They have developed a simple, special tool to de-shell the crab. Interesting! I think that's exactly how they do it at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. Some shops sell tons of dungeness crabs everyday.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"





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