Sunday, February 09, 2014

Fresh Crab Feast at Home

January was a perfect month clear and sunny month that brought perfect fresh load of live crabs at the local Asian markets.  For the great birthday feast, it was a perfect choice for the menu.  But how many crabs for eight guests?  2 crabs per person.  Total of 16 crabs.  And a good size gigantic crabs!  
There are a few basic recipes on how to prepare and cook crab.  You often see the most straight forward way presented by many great chefs and at the fishermen's wharf.  Bring a large kettle pot of water to a full boil and dunk the live crab right into it is one of the popular ways.  Our way is bit more detailed because we like to wash and clean the crab before steaming them or even to stir fry them?

16 large dungeness crabs with great pincher sizes
5 large fresh ginger nodes, cut into threads about 2 inches long
Soy sauce
Japanese Rice Vinegar

Tools:  sturdy wooden chop sticks and kitchen mallet.   Kitchen brush to wash crab shells, Chinese steamer.
And a Lots of Appreciation and respect for the crabs that you are about to prepare and partake in.

Pick up the live crab carefully at the end with pinchers away from you.  Back in the old days, the live crabs' pinchers are rubber banded or tied up, but now a day, it's skipped.  
Place the crab in a sanitized sink on its back.  Open the tail end flap and insert the sturdy wooden chop stick and tap it down with the kitchen mallet.  Wait a moment for it to stop moving.
The other way is to insert the chop stick through the mouth and wait a couple of minutes.

Start scrubbing and washing the exterior of the crab under running water.

Place one thumb near its head shell armor and the other hand's thumb near its mouth.  Use a force and separate the shell armor away from the body.  The interior is exposed.

Remove all the lung filaments.

While you are preparing the rest of the crab, start boiling the water in the steamer's pot.

Place the cleaned crabs in the steamer racks.

Cover with lid and start steaming for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on numbers of crabs in the steamer racks.  

Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar together.  Add sugar to taste till it is just right.  Mix well.   Otherwise, add no sugar and use Japanese seasoned vinegar that is already sweetened.  Add gingers that are cut into threads.
Serve and Enjoy!  Beats the cost of paying for 16 fresh Dungeness crabs.
Crabs prepared this way taste very fresh and better tasting meat as there are no muddled boiling water that is cooking the crabs and also sanitizing the crabs in the same pot.  But, every one has their preferred techniques.  Just go for it!

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