Stir-Fried Blue Swimmer Crabs with Tamarind & Coconut
Stir-frying is a quick, one-pan method of cooking, popular throughout much of Asia. This dry style is more Malaysian than Chinese, as are ingredients such as tamarind and coconut.
6 green blue swimmer crabs, cleaned
30g dried tamarind pulp (see notes)
½ cup boiling water
⅓ cup peanut oil
4 red shallots, finely sliced (see notes)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 fresh coriander roots, scrubbed and finely chopped
1 cup shaved fresh coconut (see notes)
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded (see notes)
½ cup Asian basil leaves
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Cut each crab into six segments and crack the claws with the back of a heavy knife or nutcracker.
Place the tamarind in a small bowl, cover with the boiling water and set aside until just warm. Using your fingers, work the flesh into the water, then strain out the seeds, reserving the tamarind liquid.
Heat the peanut oil in a wok over a medium heat, add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander roots and fry for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add the coconut and palm sugar stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the tamarind liquid and fish sauce and bring to the boil. Add the crab and stir until all the pieces are coated with sauce. Cover, reduce heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the crab is bright orange and the flesh is opaque.
Pour onto a serving platter, sprinkle with kaffir lime leaves and basil and serve with steamed rice.
Dried tamarind pulp is sold in blocks at Asian grocery stores, 30g is approximately a golf ball-sized piece. If red shallots are unavailable, use 2 large golden shallots or 1 small red onion. If fresh coconut is unavailable, use shredded (not desiccated) coconut. Kaffir lime leaves are available from fruit and vegetable shops; they’re usually joined in pairs, 1 lime leaf equals 1 pair.
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