Szechuan style soft shell crabs in chili sauce.

I love seafood! I would eat it everyday if I could but unfortunately, in Bulgaria, most seafood (especially shell fish) is relatively expensive. Yesterday my grocery store had a case full of blue crabs and I couldn’t help myself from asking how much a couple would set me back. The lady put 3 in a bag, weighed them then stuck a $1.90 price tag on the bag. WHAT!?! I asked for 2 more! 

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To be honest, I’ve never had soft shell crabs before and I didn’t know what to expect. After some Googling I decided to mix a few recipes together and create a Chinese Szechuan inspired meal.

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First, clean the crabs in fresh water then boil them for only a few seconds, you will notice them turn pink right away. Set aside to cool for a few minutes then chop each crab in 2 lengthwise down its “belly”. Coat the crabs in flour and freshly cracked pepper, set aside.

Mix onion, ginger, garlic, chilies, fish sauce and tamarind paste in a blender or with a hand blender. Set aside.

In a hot oiled wok, stir fry small pieces of ginger, matchsticks of red peppers and green onions (use the white bottoms) until about 3/4 cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add more oil to the wok then once it’s hot add the crabs (do it in batches if you have a lot). Continually toss the crabs in the oil, making sure they cook evenly. After 2 minutes add the vegetables.  

Now add the sauce and stir fry for 2 to 5 minutes. Serve with chopped green onions.

 

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chilies
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste  

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The soft shell crabs were a success, just as flavorful as large crabs but with less (and harder to get) meat. I recommend making a HUGE batch and serving it family style with a plastic tablecloth and lots of friends and beer (this might be fun on a camping trip). Get in there and suckle on the legs, use your hands and don’t forget to slurp the spicy broth!  Enjoy!

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