Make a thick paste in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle.
4 fresh small Thai chilies (more or less for your heat needs)
½ cup grated ginger
½ cup fresh garlic (half a knob)
2 tbsp tamarind paste
2 bunches coriander roots and stalks (keep leaves for garnish)
1 tbsp fish sauce
½ cup crushed tomatoes (leave the rest of the can for the cooking process)
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
2 tbsp palm sugar (you can grate this if solid)
2 large Kaffir lime leaves (cut into fine shreds and add last)
Prepare the crabs
If alive, put into freezer for one hour to put to sleep. Remove claws of crabs and clean with the rest of the body. Remove top shell by placing thumb under the underside flap and peeling it around, taking the top of the shell with it. Separate flap and discard, keeping the top for presentation purposes. Remove gills and guts. Rinse. Cut into quarters. With the back of the knife or hard tool, lightly crack larger limbs for flavour penetration.
Garnish for the end
1 lime cut into quarters
Leaves of the coriander
Bunch of Thai basil leaves
Ingredients to have on hand in the cooking process and added to the wok in succession:
½ cup peanut oil
The paste (as above)
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
2 large mud crabs, prepped
1 lime cut into wedges
1. In a hot wok add oil and swirl around to coat sides.
2. Add paste and toss until there’s an aromatic flavour.
3. Add crushed tomatoes, stir, and wait ’til boiling.
4. Add all of the crab, including top shell, and toss so sauce coats.
5. Place the lid on and simmer/steam for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked.
6. Present on a large, deep plate replicating the original shape of the crab.
7. Squeeze lime over and top with coriander leaves and Thai basil – serve with coconut rice and lots of serviettes.
By Jarad Mea