This is a fun ‘roll your sleeves up’ meal.
Make sure you have crab claw crackers and crab forks at the ready – the rest is all hands.
- 2 mud crabs, cleaned and cut into 6 pieces, claws cracked
- ½ cup cornflour
- 1L vegetable oil
For the sauce
- 60g ghee
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 gold eschallots, thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 leaves lemon mytrle
- 4 long red chillies,
- 2 tablespoons native pepperberries, cracked
- 2 teaspoons vegemite
- 1 tablespoon mushroom soy, or low salt soy
- 2 tablespoons dark soy
- 2 tablespoons kecap manis
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 40ml Shao Xiang wine
- 250ml stock
(hot chicken or shellfish)
- ⅔ cup coriander leaves
- Lime wedges
- Chilli or prawn oil (optional)
1. To prepare the crab
Put the crab pieces into a bowl and sprinkle over the cornflour, tossing the pieces to coat them. Add the oil to a flat-bottomed wok and heat over a high heat. When the oil reaches 180˚C fry the crab pieces until they begin to turn red. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
2. For the sauce
Safely discard the oil and wipe the wok clean before returning to the heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the ghee. Once the ghee has melted, add in the garlic, eschallots, curry leaves, lemon myrtle, chilli and pepperberries. Fry for 30 seconds until fragrant, making sure that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the vegemite, soy sauces, kecap manis and brown sugar. Stir to combine and then simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Add the Shao Xiang wine, chicken stock and crab pieces. Simmer for 6-7 minutes, occasionally turning the crab pieces over in the sauce.
3. To serve
Spoon into deep bowls with plenty of sauce and generously scatter with coriander. Serve with steamed rice or parathas, wedges of lime and chilli or prawn oil.
- Pepperberries are native to Tasmania and provide an Australian twist on this Asian-inspired dish. Substitute for black peppercorns if unable to source.
- Additional preparation time will be required if the mud crabs are bought live:
o Mud crabs are often supplied trussed but alive. To dispatch them humanely put them into the freezer for about 20-40 minutes to put them to sleep. This time is dependent on their size, as you don’t want to freeze the meat.
o Once asleep, take them from the freezer (one at a time) and lay them back down on a chopping board. Plunge a large sharp knife through the head.
o Lift the flap on the underside and pull off the top shell. Rinse under gently running water to clean, lifting out the grey gills or ‘dead man’s fingers’.
o Halve the body lengthwise. Each half can then be halved again or cut into thirds – depending on the recipe, preference and usage.
o Remove the large claws and crack them for easy access to the meat.
As seen in autumn/winter 2023