After our last successful attempt making Singapore Chilli Crab, we were tempted to try something a little more difficult.
Enter…. salt and pepper mud crab!
I had trouble finding the right recipe for this one, so I mixed and matched what recipes I did find and adapted it to taste. I chose a good variety of spices for this dish – including shallots, chillies, garlic, five spice powder, salt and Sichuan pepper. This turned out to be a powerful and addictive flavour combination with lots of heat!
It’s important that the oil is hot enough (around 200 degrees) before you put the crab in, otherwise you won’t get a crisp outer shell and the meat could be a little stewy on the inside. You want to fry up the spices almost straight after the crab pieces come out of the oil. Don’t let the crab sit too long or else it will start to soften.
1kg mud crab
2 stalks of shallots (white part only), mashed
3 chillies in fine slices
3 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 tsp Sichuan pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp salt
Shallots and coriander to garnish
1. Put the crab in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to put it to sleep. When time has elapsed, peel off the back flap and wedge open the shell with a sturdy knife. Remove the innards and cut the crab into 6 pieces. Give it quick rinse and dry with a paper towel.
2. Dust the potato starch over the crab so it is evenly coated.
3. Heat up oil in a wok. You can test the temperature of oil by sticking in a wooden chopstick and if it bubbles, it’s ready to go. Dust excess powder off the crab and fry for 1 minute (or until the shell reaches a dark orange colour). Set aside.
4. Heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a clean wok. Toss in the chillies, garlic and shallots and fry until just brown. Return the crab pieces to the wok and add the Sichuan pepper, five spice powder and salt. Mix thoroughly and remove from heat.
5. Garnish with shallots and coriander and serve.