I usually go to the market after my school run on Fridays. It is a no frills market done in the local car park on Friday mornings. It is not the one of the beautiful markets we see in travel shows, far from it. It is basic but provides a lot of the ingredients I need in one stop. The best thing I like about it is the fresh produce and the wide variety of fresh fish. We like eating fish but can't depend on the supermarkets for supplies. They are just not fresh enough.
Today, the fishmonger had fresh crabs...live and kicking. All female! He actually couldn't tell the difference. I had to teach him how. In case some are wondering, the ones with rounded flaps on their bellies are female and thus have crab roes (my favourite part of the crab). The ones with pointy flaps are of course male. They were all alive and I had to rush them home and cook them quickly to capture their peak of freshness. They were good...really good. I stewed them simply in coconut milk, added some aromatics such as lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. I also added some spinach so I that I won't need to cook a separate vegetable dish. Rice completed the happy picture.
3 medium crabs
1 c. crab stock (from the liquid used for parboiling the crabs)
1 can coconut cream (400 mls.)
1 2"x2" knob of ginger, sliced thinly
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemon grass stalk, cut in half and smashed
1 tbsp. bagoong , shrimp paste or anchovy paste
1 tbsp. of fish sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 green finger chilli
2 bunches of spring onions, cut into 2" lengths
a bunch of spinach
Put the crabs in the fridge while you preparing the ingredients to put them to sleep.
Boil some water in a wok or pot and add the crabs. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Take the crabs out of the liquid. Save 1 c. of the stock and discard the rest. Chop the crab into two pieces each and set aside.
Put the stock and coconut cream together in the pot or wok. Add the ginger, lime leaves, lemon grass and chilli (cut a slit in the middle, lengthwise if you want the sauce to be spicy). Season with the bagoong (or shrimp or anchovy paste), fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the crab pieces and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the spring onions and spinach and simmer for another 2 minutes. The dish is now ready to enjoy.
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