thai chili crab
2 lbs king crab, shelled or cut into manageable-sized pieces
mise en place (items grouped together may be pre-measured and ready-to-go):
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 fresh red chili, minced
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, sliced into matchsticks
3-4 tbsp white wine
2 tsp to 2 tbsp thai chili sauce (sriracha or sweet chili sauce, depending on who you ask)
1/4 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot,
dissolved in 4 tbsp water
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
or a handful of cilantro, chopped
our crab came pre-cooked, from the seafood counter (and really, I've never purchased raw whole crab before...only in sorted, "lump" meat). if purchasing steamed crab, you might also request the shells be given a whack, to make the sorting out easier at home. if purchasing raw, place into a steamer for 7 to 9 minutes, careful not to overcook (think: rubber-calamari).
for sauce: add 2 tbsp fresh oil to the wok, plus shallots, garlic, red chili, and galangal/ginger. stir-fry 2 minutes over medium high heat, adding white wine to the pan when it becomes dry.
add chicken broth, chili sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and fish sauce, stirring briskly over medium-high heat. add cooked crab, and gently turn the crab in the sauce as you cook (about 2 more minutes).
break the egg into a cup and combine it with the arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in water. stir with a fork, making sure yolk is broken.
add egg mixture to the wok, stirring well to combine and thicken the sauce. reduce heat to low, but continue to mix crab and sauce. taste and adjust seasoning, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or a squeeze of fresh lime to balance too much salt. if there's too much heat, a little more tomato will balance chili oil .
serve family-style on a platter, sauce poured over, garnished with scallion/cilantro. don't forget the jasmine rice and (if not previously shelled) tons of napkins, and tools for cracking and extracting crab. we weren't going for the fully authentic experience, so we pre-picked the crab and added it sans shell; it just seemed likely that stubborn, spiny legs, paired with hot chili oil could make for fingerfood nightmare.
we enjoyed this with a glass of gewurztraminer (for me) and a frosty spaten (for b).