Thinly sliced red chillies, to garnish
Chilli Sauce½ bunch coriander (40g), roots attached
1 Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Add ½ cup salt per 2.5 litres of water. Add whole crabs. Return to boil. Cook for 8 minutes for every 500g. Carefully lift crabs from pot. Place in iced water.
2 Twist off large claws. Use the back of a knife to crack claw shells slightly. Lift tail flap, peel off back shell. Reserve. Discard white gills, liver and brains. Leave smaller legs intact, cut body in four even pieces.
3 For chilli sauce, remove leaves from coriander. Reserve. Wash roots and stems under cold water. Chop. Place in a food processor with onions, garlic, chillies and anchovies. Process to a smooth paste.4 Heat oil in a wok over a high heat. Add coriander paste. Stir-fry for 12 to
15 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated and mixture is fragrant. Add soup, puree, water and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and vinegar. Add crab claws, bodies and reserved back shells. Stir-fry until heated through.
5 Garnish with coriander leaves and thinly sliced chilli to serve.
Try these variations...
Lemongrass & Ginger Crabs
Follow method for cooking and preparing crabs. Heat ¹/³ cup peanut oil in a wok. Add 4 spring onions, chopped into 4cm pieces, 3cm piece fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks, 1 finely chopped lemongrass stalk and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add crabs, ¹/³ cup each soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and 2 tblsps palm sugar. Stir-fry until hot. Garnish with basil leaves.
Chilli Prawns with Feta & Mint
Follow method for chilli sauce. Peel 750g raw prawns, leaving tails and heads intact. Heat ¼ cup peanut oil in a wok. Stir-fry prawns in four batches for 2 minutes, or until almost cooked through. Return to wok with chilli sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. To serve, place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with 200g crumbled feta and ¼ cup shredded fresh mint._
- Mud crabs are also suitable for this recipe. Just follow the cooking time of 8 minutes per 500g and be sure to start timing after the water has returned to the boil.
- Mud crabs are often sold live at fish markets. The RSPCA demand that crustaceans are killed humanely. The most acceptable method is to place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until they have gone to sleep. Visit www.rspca.org.au for more details.
- When buying crabs, look for shells that are intact and brightly coloured. They should have a pleasant, fresh sea smell. Take a freezer bag or esky to transport the crabs so they are kept as cold as possible.- Don’t overcook crabs. They’re done when their shells turn bright orange and flesh is opaque.
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