There are many types of crab in Asia, mainly we like the mud crabs (big claws) more than the others. Every time I am home, crab is in the list of must eat and the popular way of cooking it is with salted egg york.
I have seen two types of crab in the Netherlands. One with a big body and small claws and another type that looks like our mud crab – big claws!! See picture above. The difference between this crab and our mu crab is that the shell of the European one is extremely thick and hard, not easy to crack.
I think I paid only Euro6 for this big crab, which I thought was a bargain.
If there is an Asian grocery store where you live, chance of finding salted egg is high. In the Amazing Oriental super market in Maastricht, the eggs come in a pack of 6. You may also google how to make it yourself at home if you can’t find them in the supermarket.
- 1 crab
- 3 salted egg york – boiled the salted eggs for 5 minutes, cool them down, peel the shells and remove only the egg york for use
- Handful of dried prawns (about 20-25 of the little prawns) – soften in warm water and blend in the processor into tiny pieces
- 1 chili padi – roughly chopped
- handful of curry leaves
- A lot of cooking oil for deep frying
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 glass of milk
- Salt to taste
To kill a crab. Mud crabs have to be killed right before you cook them or the meat will go off too quickly.
Honestly, I would skip the crab if you find it too much hassle to find and prepare one, just replace the crab with prawns.
The first time I experience crab killing was at friend’s house when somebody bought a whole lot of crabs. Nobody knew how to kill the living thing with big claws threatening to snap off our fingers… So their solutions were like this:
- Knock them to death with a hammer. My friends found it too cruel when the crab refused to die.
- Boil them to death. The legs somehow “ejected” from the body and I thought they did not look like how they were presented on the plate in the restaurant.
- Freeze them to death. This was the last solution and they thought it was more humane. 🙂
After a few hours of killing the crabs, somebody turn up at the house and told us the right way which is to poke its heart with a sharp object (knife point or chopstick). Flip the crab around, you will see a triangular flap and at the end of the point (in the middle of the body) locates the heart. To kill the crab this way is easier said than done, I have tried many times and witnessed my friends tried to do it many times…
The easiest way is to get a good big chop and chop the crab into half (from the under-crab of course, not through the top shell). It will die quickly and you don’t have to worry about having your fingers too close to its claws.
Clean the crab and remove the gills, dry the parts carefully so it will be easier when you deep frying it.
Cooking the crab.
1. Add butter into a pan/wok, stir fry the dried prawns until fragrance.
2. Add the salted egg york into the pan, keep stirring and you will see forms forming. reduce the heat so you don’t burn the egg york.
3. Add the chili padi and curry leaves.
5. Add the milk and some salt if needed.
6. Mix well and serve.