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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Local Wally's Famous Asian Style Dungeness Crab Recipe

When you cook crab, especially Dungeness Crab, you don't want to mess it up.  Keep it simple, right? And Dungeness is the best.  Forget the tough and often dry Alaskan legs, forget the salty Snow crab, when it's in season you have to go Dungeness with it's sweet and delicate meat.  Now I love a basic steamed crab as much as the next guy but as a kid my mom would cook a killer Chinese styled crab with lots of flavors.  I thought I would give it a shot.  Let's jump ahead - here's the money shot.

So if you think this looks good, read on.  If not, well, I'm not a professional chef so I'm not insulted - well, not too much anyway.  Here's the simple recipe.


1.  Buy crab - in SoCal it's hard to get fresh crabs but during season you can get pre-cooked ones already cut up into "clusters".  I know that Anthony Bourdain says that the guts are the best part but he's wrong, the meat is.  So buy a couple of crab clusters and smell them before you buy them to make sure they have no off smells.  Any ammonia smell, any strong fish smell, anything that doesn't make you want to eat it now means you should go make tacos or something instead.  My supermarket puts these on sale for $7.99 a pound and two clusters is about a pound.

If you are buying live crabs, it's your job to figure out how to kill them.  Don't email me, I don't know.

Cut the clusters into leg pieces and using a cleaver or a small hammer crack the shell without totally smashing it to pieces.  You want the juices from the sauce to get into the meat.

2.  Chop up a ton of ginger into matchsticks (about 2" of ginger) and about a quarter of a garlic (3 to 4 big cloves or more, it's not critical) and one jalapeno pepper.

3.  Heat wok or frying pan with oil (enough to cover the bottom maybe 1/8th of an inch) and then toss in the crab.  Stir to coat with the oil and then toss in the ginger, garlic and pepper and stir it up.  Toss in a bit of chicken broth (not too much, maybe 1/4 cup, maybe less) and add a touch of light soy sauce (be careful, too much and it gets salty so just a tiny bit, like a teaspoon or so).  Cover and let steam.  If the crab was raw, cook till done.  If it was precooked, just cook enough to get it hot.

If you really want to do this Chinese style, mix a teaspoon of corn starch with a small amount of water, stir, then add to the sauce at the bottom of the pan and stir vigorously until it cooks and turns the watery sauce into a thicker gravy.  Don't overdo this step as you can make the sauce gloopy.  I skip it, to tell you the truth, but just thought you would like to have this option.

4.  Finish with some green onions or cilantro to add color.  Eat!

Hope you like it,

Local Wally

1 comment:

Basset Training said...

Yum! This is really an appetizing meal! Eventhough it's not drench in sauce or soup like I always ate it's really making me hungry. Thanks for sharing the recipe!