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Stir-Fried Crab with Ginger and Spring Onions

Delicately spiced crab, stir fried with textures of ginger and spring onions. From Ching He Huang and Ken Hom, this delicious recipe has Cantonese influences.

Introduction

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts given to me by my mother and Chinese uncles was the appreciation of fresh seafood, especially crab. Of course, at home, the crabs were always live until dispatched to the hot wok. I remember the silky texture and sweetness of the crab meat as I sucked each morsel clean. There were only ever stacks of empty shells left at the end of the meal. The Cantonese chefs know that preparing subtle and delicate food such as crab requires the minimum of seasonings: ginger, garlic and spring onions, which complement rather than detract from the crab. Eat this with friends as a first course, with your hands and perhaps a pint of beer too!

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Ingredients

1.5-1.75kg (3-4lb) fresh or freshly cooked crab in the shell
2 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
3 tbsp finely sliced garlic
2-3 tbsp finely shredded fresh ginger
6 whole spring onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)

Essential kit

You will need a wok.

Method

If the crab is uncooked, put it on its back. With a thick towel, immediately twist off the large claws. Then twist off the small legs. Scrub the shells under cold running water. Now separate the top shell from the crab body. Remove the feathery lungs, the mouth and the tail. Scrub the shell and the crab body under cold running water. Remove the stomach sac. Quarter the crab body with a large knife or cleaver. Then crack the claws and legs with the flat of the cleaver. If you are using a cooked crab, simply clean and quarter the crab and crack it as described above.

Heat a wok over high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Then chuck in the crab pieces, salt, pepper and rice wine (or sherry) and stir-fry over a high heat for about 15 minutes.

Turn out on to a large, warm serving platter and serve at once.

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