Based on my last post everyone (all three of you who read my blog) is well aware of my love affair with Fatty Crab. My most favorite dish there is their Chili Crab. I may have mentioned it’s so good that I want to roll in the sauce. Not the best visual, but it rings true. So now that I have ‘Eat with Your Hands’ it’s time I started cooking up some Fatty Crab recipes and I’m starting with the infamous Chili Crab. Please be advised when you take on the Chili Crab it is a true commitment. It takes an entire day to source the ingredients (unless of course you have crab paste and live crabs on hand). Then there’s the prep of pastes and liquids and the making of the Sambal Belacan. I totally made the latter. As a result there’s a lingering odor (that’s really what it is) of toasted shrimp paste. Do not have guests after making the Sambal Belacan for at least three weeks. It may smell like dog pee. Now that’s appetizing isn’t it? But it doesn’t taste like dog pee and is a critical element in making this dish.
So I start with a trip to Newman’s Fish Market in the NW. While they actually have lovely, live Alaskan crabs I just can’t bring myself to plunge them to their imminent death in a pot of boiling water. So I go with the wimpy way. Buy the pre-cooked version and ask the very knowledgable fish monger (who happens to be from Buffalo, NY. What are the chances?) to take out the ick. And he does. Not only is he knowledgable he’s very accommodating.
Then I’m off to Uwajimaya, our local Asian extravaganza of food for a couple of basics. Oyster sauce, some shrimp paste which comes in a brick and is wrapped 10,000 times because it smells so awful.
Oh, but wait, I’m not done yet…For some reason I couldn’t find fresh red Thai bird chilies or long red chilies at Uwajimaya. So then I’m off to Winco. Winco has become one of my favorite places to shop. Because they have everything and everything is really inexpensive. Winco carries a large variety of Hispanic and Asian ingredients so I was quite sure to find my chilies there. Not so. I had to do some substitution with a wing and a prayer hoping it would work and bought other chilies that seemed appropriate.
Finally, it’s midday and I’m back at Casa Moose in the kitchen contemplating where to start. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and a bit intimidated by the concept of making the Sambal Belacan. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be intimidated? Okay a proper chef would have no problems. The proper chef would also have purchased the live crabs. I therefore am not a proper chef. Yet.
In order to make this dish you must prepare a garlic-ginger paste and a sriracha liquid. Pounding and mixing of the ingredients is involved. If it weren’t for the super scary Sambal Belacan I think I would have been okay.
Next the actual making of the Chili Crab. Told you this involved commitment. Until then…Moose Out