Vietnamese Stir-Fried Crab

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READY IN: 40mins
SERVES: 4
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
  • 12 -14
    blue crabs, live (substituting 2 live Dungeness crabs, about 3 pounds each OK)
  • 1
    cup peanut oil, for frying
  • 2
    cups flour (seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  • 6
    tablespoons butter
  • 6
    tablespoons olive oil
  • 3
    stalks lemongrass, fresh (grassy tops discarded and bulbs finely chopped)
  • 4
    tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2
    tablespoons hot pepper flakes
  • 3
    inches gingerroot, fresh, peeled and julienne
  • 2
    tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3
    tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3
    tablespoons sugar
  • 1
    bunch green onion, finely chopped
  • 4 -5
    serrano chilies, sliced into thin rounds (optional)
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DIRECTIONS

  • Steam crabs then remove the top shells. Pull out spongy gill and opaque matter in center. Flip over & remove the key. Cut each crab into 2 pieces with a mallet or edge of a knife and make a crack (not all the way through) in each crab piece.
  • In large skillet or wok, pour in peanut oil, 1 inch deep. Heat the oil and fry the top shells of the crabs, turning until bright red & crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
  • Dredge crab pieces in seasoned flour. Add pieces to the hot oil and fry over fairly high heat, turning frequently for 5 minutes to 6 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. Discard cooking oil.
  • Place the skillet or wok on medium heat and add butter and olive oil. When butter is melted, add lemon grass, garlic, pepper flakes, ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add tomato paste, mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add salt and sugar and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the crab pieces (not the top shells) and stir, coating the crab pieces with the sauce. Cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes to 5 minutes. Add the green onions and serrano chiles, if using, and remove from heat.
  • For a beautiful presentation, arrange crab pieces back in the shape of the crab. Divide 3/4 of the pan juices over the crabs. Then place the top shells back on top of the arranged pieces, pouring remaining juices on top of the shells. Serve at once.
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