Monday, September 10, 2012

Mom's Curry Crab and Chinese Vermicelli (serves about 4)

mom's curry crab and Chinese vermicelli
a typical lunch at my parents
 My mother, Khém often purchases large buckets of crabs from her fisherman friends. There are many different ways my family eats the crabs. Sometimes we eat boiled crabs dipped simply in lemon, salt and pepper mixture or in a spicy Vietnamese dipping sauce along with a large plate full of fresh herbs, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. However, my mother prepares the best crab dish that is very popular in my family and I share with you her curry crab and Chinese vermicelli. This dish can be kept in the refrigerator for several days (if you have any left over). My brother, Sơn loves this dish and when he is around when this dish is served there will definitely be none left over!

Mom's Curry Crab and Chinese Vermicelli (serves about 4)

Ingredients:

Eight 5 1/2-inch to 6-inch crabs (measure the shell covering the body of the crab excluding the legs),
cut each body with the legs into 4-6 sections
4 Tbsp canola oil
3-4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water (more if needed)
3 bunches of Chinese vermicelli, soaked in hot water until softened

Method:

1) Break or cut off the sharp end of each leg.
2) Remove the carapace (the shell covering the body), eyestalks, antenna, mouth, gills, and apron.
3) Cut each body of the crab in half and then cut each half of the body into 4 or 6 sections (depending on the size of your crabs).
4) Save the roe and/or tamale (liver) if interested.
5) Heat a large pan with oil over high heat.
6) Add garlic, curry and turmeric powder and turn down heat to medium, cook while stirring constant to prevent burning for 1 minute.
7) Add all the crabs, roe, tamale, and water, cook and stir for 20 minutes or longer if using live crabs.
8) Stir in the vermicelli to the bottom of the pan and cover the pan for 5 minutes to soak up the sauce.
9) Uncover the pan and cook until most of the sauce has dried up (there should be very little to no sauce on the bottom of the pan).
10) Remove the contents and place them in a large platter or dish.

 5-gallon buckets of fresh
peekytoe crabs
cooked crabs
my mother breaking off the tip
(sharp part) of each crab leg
pull off the gills (located on the
sides of the body),
antenna, eyestalks, and mouth
cut the body in half
cut each half into 2-3 sections
(each crab yields 4-6 sections
depending on the size of the crab)
a dish of crab prepared to be cooked
soak the Chinese vermicelli in
hot water until soften
my mother stirring the crabs
and vermicelli
cut the vermicelli with scissors
to manageable size if needed
at 70 y.o. my father is still cooking
-here he is boiling fresh-off-the-boat
lobsters and crabs in the dark
*You may cook the crabs ahead of time and let cool before cutting them up for convenience or you may cut up live crabs. If you use live crabs then you may not need to add water since the juice from the crab will be sufficient to cook this dish. The crab juice will give it a natural sweetness that will make your dish even more tasty. However, it just means you have to deal with cutting up live crabs and this process may be difficult for some people. My mother finds that it is easier and quicker to cut up cooked crabs.

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