Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chilli Crab with Noodles

        Crab is something that Mum likes to treat the family to once in a while. It's just so much more economical to cook at home especially when you have alot of mouths to feed. It's not longer become something that we only get to eat on special occasions either. Once in a while Mum makes a trip to Flemington Markets to stock up on seafood, it's alot cheaper to buy and she would usually buy up in bulk and freeze it all. She usually goes on a Friday because apparantly it's cheaper and not as crowded. This weekend she bought home 2 mud crabs and saved them for me to cook for Saturday night dinner.

        Mum also knows the way to my heart. I absolutely adore cherries and she knows it. I've seen alot of cherries around recently but have been reluctant to buy them because I know they're not in season and are imports from the US. Mum buys some anyway because they were reasonably priced and were good cherries. They are very plump and ripe, just the way I like my cherries.

        A crab dish that mum likes is the one that is served with noodles that is usually eaten as part of a banquet at Chinese restaurants. We generally don't eat out alot and so only ever really eat this at weddings. Mum indicates to me that she would like to do something like that. I adapt my crab recipe to incorporate the noodles. Mum's observation is that the restaurants use this particular type of dried noodle so she buys this particular brand/variety of noodles to try out for the dish. The package says "fresh fried egg noodle" but they are actually dried/fried noodles which are quickly blanched in some boiling water to soften, they also shrink a bit so you really do underestimate how much yield is in one bag, Mum bought 2 and I used them both.

        Before heading out I ask Mum to prep the crab ready for me to cook by the time I come home. She says she'll do it closer to cooking time as it's only a quick job. I come home expecting to perhaps have a go at prepping the crab myself. Fortunately for me, Mum has already cut up the crab all ready to be cooked so I don't have to get my hands dirty at all. This bowl contains 2 crabs.

Delicacies of the crab, added into the sauce to cook later.

        So the crab dish that I cook is a "Chilli Crab" dish from this cook book The Complete Asian Cooking Companion. I picked it up a while ago at my old workplace from Lifetime Distributors who came around every few weeks with all sorts of books and other knick knacks at discounted prices. I actually picked up a fair few cookbooks at really great prices.

        I triple all the quantities so that there would be enough sauce to cover the noodles. The sauce comprises of some very basic ingredients which includes garlic, ginger, chilli, green onion, sweet chilli sauce, oyster sauce and fish stock (I used chicken as that's what was in the fridge and I didn't want to go out and buy fish stock).

        The garlic, ginger and chilli is sauteed in some peanut oil until golden and fragrant.

        The wet ingredients are then added and the sauce mixture simmered until it reduces and thickens.

        The crab is then added, tossed around until coated and then covered and cooked on medium-high until the shells turn bright red and then the noodles are added.

        I tried to add the noodles into the pan to mix through with the crab but our pan wasn't big enough so had to pick out all the crab and ended up serving it seperate to the noodles.

        The noodles are added to the pan with the sauce and tossed until the noodles are evenly coated. Could have added the crab back in at this stage but we thought it would be easier to serve it seperate, plus the pan just wasn't quite big enough.

        This is all we had for dinner on Saturday night, noodles and chilli crab. Mum managed to score some really good crabs, the meat was firm and succulent, shells full of meat unlike the under par crabs we've sometimes had where the it would be mostly shell and cartiledge and not alot of meat at all. The sauce was also really tasty, a balance of sweet and savoury combinations from the sweet chilli and oyster sauce with the ginger adding to the sweetness and a hint of heat from the chilli. Dad however was not satisfied with the level of heat and added more chilli sauce. Everyone really enjoyed the dish and I think I did better this time compared to the first time I tried it.

        For dessert Ryan and I shared this Strawberry Charlotte cake which I had bought from Hello Happy the day before and left in the fridge. I enjoyed it immensely with the soft sponge layers and the fluffy and light mouse and the little bit of strawberry jam in the middle. It was a good light treat following such a heavy dinner.

        This is from the first time I did "Chilli Crab" (March '09). The quality of the crabs which Mum bought here is something that we will never forget, utterly firm and succulent and they were so meaty! One of the crabs also had these ginormous claws which were just so full of meat and about the size of your hand. The crabs were so meaty that all 6 eating of us struggled to finish the 2 crabs.

        I was in charge of looking after dinner that day and also served a salmon sashimi and seaweed dish and a grilled salmon dish. I think Mum and Dad enjoy it when I cook dinner for the family every once in a while. It gives them a chance to eat some different dishes and experience some different flavours. It's hard though finding dishes that I know they will enjoy. I know Mum finds it hard to plate up meals on a daily basis and sometimes she just runs out of ideas. The sibblings are also more inclined to eat the food when I cook, only because I try to cater for their tastes and am probably a little more in tune with their taste buds then Mum is. Picky bunch we are.


chocolatesuze said...

zomg the crab looks so freaking awesome! i shouldnt read blogs when ive got the munchies!

Maria said...

Looks great Angie! Def good enough reason to leave our tour early :-)

john@heneedsfood said...

I love mud crab so much and really miss the days when I was young and got to enjoy them for free from when Dad went out crabbing back in Queensland. Yours looks so good! Now I can understand your eagerness on Saturday afternoon! Great to meet you!

OohLookBel said...

The chilli crab looks freakin' amazing! It's the sign of a good cook when you can plate up a dish like this :D

Forager said...

Ooh looks amazing! Aren't mums the best?

Amy @ said...

superfrigginawesome! I want some! looks so luscious!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Suze: Thanks! Hehe yeah, totally get what you mean, I don't know why I always read blogs on an empty stomach!

Hi Maria: Thanks! I would have totally stayed back if I wasn't cooking crab for dinner =D

Hi John: Thanks! Sorry if I seemed eager to leave you guys, I was actually quite exhausted by the time I got home and that was before cooking dinner.

Hi Belle: Aww thanks! =)

Hi Forager: Thanks! Hehe yeah, I should really make the most of living at home while it lasts.

Hi Amy: Thanks! Hehe it was awesomely tasty! =p

Sarah Vino said...

That was the first time you did Chilli crab?! Looks excellent! And that sponge cake mmm!!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Sarah: Thanks! Hehe nooo this was the second time, first time was in the bottom photos with the giant clawed crabs.

Blogger Pencil said...

Good jobs, another delicious recipe to cook crab in simple way, I wanna try some ;-p