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Frying frozen crabs


KennethT
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I saw these boxes of frozen crabs in my local H-mart today...

 

This one, the crabs seem pretty small and are already coated in starch:

20210704_171148_HDR.thumb.jpg.07d7ab8af49b01c5d95ce59a2c708f1f.jpg

 

This one is just crabs, no starch:

20210704_171141_HDR.thumb.jpg.172c5af990360e869dfb7ee7c8af531a.jpg

 

How do you cook these?  The first one says "Just Fry - 3 min" but doesn't have any other instructions on the box.  Do you defrost them first or fry from frozen?  I sense a catastrophe waiting to happen.  But, the first one looks more attractive to me as I'd love to replicate this - one of the best airport snacks anywhere... Bangkok, circa 2006...

IMG_0294.thumb.JPG.3eb2e064d0d2a9b37713f1ac54d14d86.JPG

 

These crabs were fried whole with just a thin dusting of starch, and eaten as is, shell and all.  They were amazing and I've been looking for something similar for a long time.  The sauce is true Sriracha, not at all like the Rooster brand, ever-present in the US.

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35 minutes ago, KennethT said:

I saw these boxes of frozen crabs in my local H-mart today...

 

This one, the crabs seem pretty small and are already coated in starch:

20210704_171148_HDR.thumb.jpg.07d7ab8af49b01c5d95ce59a2c708f1f.jpg

 

This one is just crabs, no starch:

20210704_171141_HDR.thumb.jpg.172c5af990360e869dfb7ee7c8af531a.jpg

 

How do you cook these?  The first one says "Just Fry - 3 min" but doesn't have any other instructions on the box.  Do you defrost them first or fry from frozen?  I sense a catastrophe waiting to happen.  But, the first one looks more attractive to me as I'd love to replicate this - one of the best airport snacks anywhere... Bangkok, circa 2006...

IMG_0294.thumb.JPG.3eb2e064d0d2a9b37713f1ac54d14d86.JPG

 

These crabs were fried whole with just a thin dusting of starch, and eaten as is, shell and all.  They were amazing and I've been looking for something similar for a long time.  The sauce is true Sriracha, not at all like the Rooster brand, ever-present in the US.

Well Rooster is from Los Angeles... I'd imagine from fozen otherwise the starch might glop?  Be the guinea pig ;

 

35 minutes ago, KennethT said:

 

 

Edited by heidih (log)
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I guess the main reason I posted my question is that I'm concerned about explosions of hot oil from the fryer as the frozen crabs defrost and let out water.  I'd rather not experiment wearing a hazmat suit or get oil all over my kitchen.

 

But yes, I also thought that if defrosted, the starch coating would get gloppy...

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Maybe shallow fry (maybe half inch of oil or even less) with a splatter or spatter shield. (That's how I make falafel patties and they come out good, texture-wise.)

 

I understand your concerns about water and hot oil. There is a soft shell crab thread on eGullet. (I'm guessing the concerns about explosions are the same.)

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I would think of it as a frozen battered squid ring, or a frozen croquette. Just dump it (straight from frozen) into reasonably hot oil (160 oC) and see …


Edit: large cast iron, 1/3 filled with oil and brought to temperature. If things get violent, put the lid on, close the heat and wait until things calm down (or the firebrigade leaves the building) …

Edited by Duvel (log)
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31 minutes ago, Duvel said:

I would think of it as a frozen battered squid ring, or a frozen croquette. Just dump it (straight from frozen) into reasonably hot oil (160 oC) and see …


Edit: large cast iron, 1/3 filled with oil and brought to temperature. If things get violent, put the lid on, close the heat and wait until things calm down (or the firebrigade leaves the building) …

Thanks.  I'm actually not too worried about fire since I'll be doing it on induction, so there's no open flame for ignition.  I thought of thinking of it like a frozen squid ring or croquette - but then I thought that the moisture content of a whole crab could be much higher.  A battered piece of protein has most of its water in the batter (external to the meat and in direct contact with the hot oil), whereas a whole crab dusted in flour has most of the water frozen inside the shell.  I was concerned about a pocket of water in the crab turning to steam and bursting, blowing hot oil all over the place.  I'd worry even more about doing it covered as the steam leaving the oil would condense on the cover and drip back into the hot oil.

 

I was thinking of doing the frying in my carbon steel wok (with a really powerful induction hob to bring back to temp quickly) - that way, there's lots of room for oil expansion.

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4 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Thanks.  I'm actually not too worried about fire since I'll be doing it on induction, so there's no open flame for ignition.  I thought of thinking of it like a frozen squid ring or croquette - but then I thought that the moisture content of a whole crab could be much higher.  A battered piece of protein has most of its water in the batter (external to the meat and in direct contact with the hot oil), whereas a whole crab dusted in flour has most of the water frozen inside the shell.  I was concerned about a pocket of water in the crab turning to steam and bursting, blowing hot oil all over the place.  I'd worry even more about doing it covered as the steam leaving the oil would condense on the cover and drip back into the hot oil.

 

I was thinking of doing the frying in my carbon steel wok (with a really powerful induction hob to bring back to temp quickly) - that way, there's lots of room for oil expansion.


No, I got that. The fire brigade part was not meant to be taken seriously. 
 

I don’t suggest to fry the crab covered. Closing the cast iron with a lid is just a part of the „don‘t worry“ protocol in case things get too violent during the frying process. Otherwise you fry without, of course - there will be moisture evaporating. Whether this is more pronounced than for example frying a battered oyster or a zucchini is something I look forward to be answered by you 🤗

 

A cast iron might have an advantage due to the higher/„less sloped“ rim when it comes to splattering, but I am sure the large wok would work equally well.

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7 minutes ago, Duvel said:


No, I got that. The fire brigade part was not meant to be taken seriously. 
 

 

I took it seriously because I once had a small grease fire on my stove top... luckily I was able to put it out easily with a small puff of compressed CO2.

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At first I thought that this was a recipe for disaster. Like you said, contained pocket of moisture being fried.  The I realized I recently saw a video of someone doing it.  BE WARNED.  This video shows a chef battering and frying live crabs.  I am a regular hunter and fisher, and it still made me cringe.  But you may find some good tips in it.

 

 

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@donk79Interesting - thanks.  Personally, I don't see the purpose of battering then trying to get them to stay on the nori but that's just me... 😁  I didn't see any major explosions, but I did hear him warn the camera guy to stay back a bit because it's a possibility.  Good to know.

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