Monday, 5 September 2011

Cantonese stir-fry crab

We are blessed in Manchester with numerous and very good Chinese restaurants. I go out a lot to these restaurants, and was intending to go with a friend last Friday, but she suggested we'd cook something together at home instead. I embraced the idea as I love cooking with other people and the food always end up being something that would not come out of a restaurant's kitchen somehow.
So we met up in Chinatown - 2 min from my home, so my usual food hunts place - not knowing what we were going to do yet. As we entered, the first thing we saw was the seafood, and in particular the lobsters and the crabs. We looked at each other and it was decided, crab it would be. My friend who is originally from Hong Kong and she immediately suggested a dish from back home. We only picked up a few other ingredients as my kitchen already contains all the usual Chinese basics suspects.

The crabs were of course alive so I had a little photo shoot with them before they'd die for the greater good of our stomachs. I must say I've always loved crabs, they are fascinating crustaceans.

To cook this dish (for 2 pers.)
- 2 medium crabs
- Fresh noodles for 2
- 2 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 thumb fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 red chili, chopped
- 6 preserved black bean, chopped
- 1 head broccoli divided in florets
- dark soy sauce
- light soy sauce
 -oyster sauce
- vegetable oil (I used rapeseed oil, healthier)
- 1 bunch spring onions, chopped in diagonals
- a handful of cornflour
- 2 tsp sugar

Prepare a big pan with boiling water, drop the crabs in it (the faster the least they suffer...) and put the lid on.
Take the crabs out when they are red/pink/orange(depends on the crabs used), it only takes a few minutes. Take the crabs out and set aside.

When they are cold, dismember them and break the claws, remove the non edible part of the body.

Chop together chili, garlic,ginger and black beans. reserve some for the broccoli (to be cooked and served separately

Heat oil in a wok, throw in the mix, stir-fry for a minute, throw in the spring onions,and cook some more, then add the crab, mix a bit, add a dash of soy sauce and oyster sauce then add the lid on the wok.

In a small bowl, mix cornflour and 1tsp sugar, add some cold water, stir well and add to the crabs, stir till thickened.

The dish is now ready.

Blanch the broccoli.
Heat oil in a wok, throw in the mix, stir-fry for a minute,add florets, soy and oyster sauce, stir well, cook for a few more minutes.
In a small bowl, mix cornflour and 1tsp sugar, add some cold water, stir well and add in the wok, stir till thickened.and the dish is now ready

Cook the fresh noodles in boiling water, drain in cold water and then pour boiling water (to keep them hot) on top in the colander. Dish o the plates. Add a filet of oyster sauce, a drizzle of light soy sauce, and finish with a filet of hot oil.

Serve the three items.

This dish is really easy to make and has this gorgeous taste of Hong-Kong Street food.
The crab brings a flavoursome sweetness, and the whole dish does not take much time at all.
The noodles cooked that way take a whole dimension, and don't even think a second of skipping the oil, that would be murder!

Source: My friend, this is a common Cantonese dish cooked in HongKong at home.
Photography: myself.

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