Live crab is not very cheap, the bigger the crab, the more expensive it is. We often cannot afford buying the big ones, but for two persons, a big crab is sometimes too much and too heavy for a meal. This time, the crab I cooked was a small one.
In Vietnam, crab can be cooked in many ways. This crab in tamarid sauce is one of the most popular and most favored by lots of people. The dish is listed at almost every eating house or restaurant near the beaches and at seafood restaurants in the mainland. It is quite easy to make this dish though.
Tamarind pulp is used quite popularly in Asian cuisine. The green ones can be cooked directly with foods in the sour dishes, and the pulps of mature pods are often packed in small packages to be sold at markets or supermarkets, which makes it very convenient for cooks. I love it for the sourness with special smell and taste.
Ingredients: (serves 2)
- 1 medium crab
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 3 tbs tamarind pulp
- 1.5 tbs sugar
- 1/2 tbs fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- vegetable oil, to fry
- cilantro, chopped
- Push a paring knife right at the eyes of the crab to kill it completely. Then brush to clean the crab well. Take off the shell and cut the body into halves. Break the hard parts of the biggest claws so that the sauce can be absorbed while cooking.
- Stir tamarind pulp in 1/2 cup water, then filter to get pure tamarind water. Stir in sugar until dissolved.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, cook the garlic and shallot until just fragrant. Add the crab parts and fry until they all turn red. Pour the tamarind water over the crab, reduce the heat to low and turn the crab parts constantly. Cook until the sauce has thickened.
- Before removing from the heat, toss in pepper and chopped cilantro.