[Recipe] Salt & Pepper Softshell Crab

Hi foodies,

The Canberra weather is getting crazy with rain started from Friday all the way to the upcoming Friday 😓.

In cold days like these ones, what dishes are on your plate as a comfort food? For me, it is softshell crab.

Soft-shell crabs are those that have just molted their old exoskeleton and are removed from the NSW or QLD waters as soon as possible. This way the crabs are still soft and their shells are prevented from hardening.

Soft-shell crabs are considered as a delicacy in the Asian cusine because the entire animal can be eaten directly and there is no need to deshell them to eat the meat.

When I was in Adelaide, soft-shell crabs are relatively difficult to find. Even I found them, they were frozen and after defrosting, they were watery and soggy.

The good thing after moving to Canberra is that I find my local fishmonger, Fish Co in Belconnen Fresh Market have the fresh ones.

The soft-shell crabs are selling at $42 per kg in 2020.

[Recipe] Salt & Pepper Soft-shell Crab

Ingredients

Soft-shell crab 500g

Flour 3 Table Spoon

Spring onion 1 chopped

Ginger Half, cut into slices

Red Chilli 1 chopped

Salt, black papper Pinches

Lemon juice Drizzle

Steps

1. Use a scissor to cut the softshell crabs into halves. Add 1 small pinch of cooking salt, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of lemon juice to slightly marinate the crabs.

2. Take the crabs out of the marinade and lightly dust them until a layer of flour thoroughly covers the crabs. Make sure you have a thin layer otherwise it will affect the mouthfeel of the crabs.

3. In a pot, add to half of the volume of canola oil. I don’t suggest using olive oil as its smoking point is too low. Canola oil can fry the crabs well without the high smoke or darkness. Deep fry the dusted crabs until golden color.

4. Once the crabs are deep fried, in another wok or sauce pan, add a drizzle of tge frying oil, then add the chopped spring onion, ginger slices and the chopped red chilli. Stir fry slightly until the smell comes out.

4. Add the fried crabs and stir fry again until the crabs are coated with the spring onion, the ginger and the chilli. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Plate up and the dish is ready to be served.

Taste-wise, the crabs are coated well with the flavours from the spring onion, the ginger and the chilli as well as the salty flavour which balance each other perfectly. On the palate, it introduces the chilli flavour initially but then the hotness is neutralised by all other flavours. The aftertaste is the saltiness and cruchiness of thr crabs.

I am mouthwatering again as I am writing this article. The best thing about this dish is that you can eat the whole of the crabs without the need to ‘dissect’ it – the outside is very crunchy while the inside is pretty soft and tantalising.

So here you go, my recipe for a salt and pepper soft-shell crab. You can apply the same method for an Asian style salk and pepper squid as well.

Enjoy the week foodies and we shall talk when my next post is up in the coming week.

James

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