Monday, February 20, 2012

Chili Crab a la Regina - For February Kulinarya Challenge

This month’s Kulinarya Club challenge lovingly conceived by the tandem of Abigail of My Nappytales and Marni of Kensington Kitchen is about …… well …… first LOVE and the dish associated with it. I maybe blushing but don’t giggle just yet. :-) Everything I want to do at the time I first experienced that “tender feeling of affection” (I vividly remember I used to write down this definition in slam books), sometime in high school or probably early college, ha ha ha (it’s funny I’m not quite sure), is nothing but basketball. Perhaps basketball is to blame for clouding my memory and not clearly remembering.

Yes, I believe I eat a lot that time, because we played a lot and needed a good amount of food to supply the energy requirements, but nothing in particular really registered in my mind when it comes to food. With just a 5-peso daily allowance (sometimes none) and with body strength 95% powered by rice (some “bahaw” or “kanin lamig”), that’s probably not unusual, lol.

But of course I would not want to disappoint Abigail and Marni. That’s a nay. I can’t reason out I’m on a holiday/vacation just like last month (sorry Pearl of My Sassy Chef and Thea of Words and Nosh) and they have an awesome theme with rich topics to share. In lieu, I would like to prepare a roughly similar in taste (okay not quite comparable but also good) with the dish so close to my heart that my first experience of it is like falling in love for the first time. The dish is called “Crab Juanita”. Now you can chuckle. :)

Okay, I admit I messed that up a little bit. The dish I fell in love with is actually “Crab Maritess” of the popular Red Crab restaurant in Manila (Philippines). The name Juanita that came into the scene is actually my wife whom I am deeply in love with. Love can be so confusing sometimes. Really!

I’m certain some of you also love “Crab Maritess” so I would like to clarify this post is not about how to make that dish. Are we clear on that? This post is for another crab recipe that every time I eat reminds me of my fascination with Crab Maritess. This spicy dish called “chili crab” is shared by our Sri Lankan house crew Regina. It is such a fine dish that instantly became a personal favorite and who knows might also make a permanent mark in your heart once you tried it.

While the use of mud crab or “alimango” is preferable, I have to settle with what we have which is the delectable blue crabs or sea crabs or to be precise the blue swimming crabs of Asia known as “alimasag” in the Philippines. I already have several posts about this tasty decapods crustacean in dishes like steamed, “ginataan” or cooked in coconut milk, “torta” or fried like frittata and cooked with noodles such as sautéed with “sotanghon” or glass noodles and cooked with “miswa” or wheat flour noodles.

For our group, “alimasag” is one tasty bounty of the sea. Quite difficult to eat but its wonderful taste is worth the trouble and mess finding the meat in its intricate sectional body. :-)

For this preparation we need about 3 pcs large “alimasag” or sea crab about 1.2 kilograms (2.6 lbs.). As shown, the crabs’ aprons have been partially opened and claws or chelae have been detached and cracked by Regina.

Additionally, we need the following: 1 thumb-sized ginger peeled and minced, 1 head garlic minced, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp white sugar, ½ tsp salt, 1 medium lime, 1 tbsp dried chili pieces, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and about 2 tbsp water.

In a large pan, heat the oil on medium and fry ginger followed by garlic until both are toasted and crisp. Take out from the pan and set aside.



In the same pan with the remaining oil, arrange the crabs including its claws. Make sure that the crabs’ aprons face upward to control the flowing out of its flavorful fat and juice. Add in salt, fish sauce and small amount of water. When it starts to sizzle, sprinkle the toasted ginger and garlic on top of the crabs. Put the lid on and continue cooking until the crabs change color to light orange.



Sprinkle half of the chili pieces on top. Carefully flip the crabs over (aprons down) and add the remaining chili on top of the crabs. After several minutes, sprinkle half of the sugar on top. Flip the crabs over once again and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.



Continue cooking but make sure it does not dry up. I usually check the level of sauce below to assure it will not get burnt.

Cook for several minutes more. Flip the crabs over once more. It’s done when the sauce is reduced and somewhat oily already.

Transfer in large platter with all the sauce and bits of goodness on top. Serve immediately. Yum yum!

We ate this Chili Crab a la Regina with steamed rice and some buttered veggies … a lovely meal on a lovely time of February.

There are more wonderful dishes prepared by my fellow Kulinaryans for this month’s theme. Please check them all. You might find a new love … dish that is. Enjoy! c“,)

29 comments:

  1. looks yum. I'm always on the lookout for crab recipes as I love them (don't often cook them) but love them nonetheless. thanks for sharing

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  2. "Slam books" and basketball, heheh...

    I'm getting hungry reading and staring at this rich yummy crab dish. Yes, ♥♥♥

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  3. love love love crabs and would devour these crabs instantly. i also love the tons of garlic you used. definitely not to be eaten during a first time date though haha because this dish is definitely enjoyed kamayan style.
    malou

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  4. That chili crab sounds simple to prepare but really mouthwatering, Boyet! I'm sure I'll fall in love with it as much as I did with Crab Maritess.

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  5. Thank you She ... we all love crab ... like shrimp it's yummy as is actually.

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  6. Hi Oggi, a trip down memory lane he he ... thank you :)

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  7. Malou, yeah the garlic is probably a no-no on first date .... and the crab too ... :)

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  8. I agree, looks really YUM! Something new for me to try :-)

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  9. What a spectacular dish that entails the mention of not one, but 3 girls' names. Anything with crispy spicy bits are just great with rice.

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  10. Tina please try it but be careful, falling in love have consequences...lol.

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  11. Thanks Iska this dish is really something new to try out. :_)

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  12. Thanks Adora, it seems you knew the rice we served that day ran short .... lol.

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  13. this may not be my first love, but chili crab is definitely my greatest love! so love crabs, specially the blue ones you used in the dish. lucky me, crabs are so cheap here in the Gulf!

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  14. ...and I was giggling while I was reading this...love your entry!

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  15. Isabel we are also lucky that crab is also quite inexpensive here in Sri Lanka ... we can always enjoy it even while on budget. :-)

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  16. i love blue crab more than any of the alimango out there! it's sweet :)

    However you call it, Crab MAritess or Crab Juanita. it looks divine! now i'm hungry...tsk, tsk!

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    1. thanks Dudut .... better cook one immediately :-)

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  17. I miss eating our mud crab back home kasi it's not available here in Dubai.

    Sarap!

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    1. i know the feeling Abigail ... i seldom see it here in Sri Lanka too ... Thanks!

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  18. Crab Juanita, hayz, how I wish there could also be a dish named for me by my nonetheless husband... tempting as it is, your crabs could really capture every diners whims

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    1. I hope he will ... just ask him not to use Chicken to avoid potential problem with a fast food ... lol. Thanks Joy

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  19. Sarap! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I bet you this will taste great with the heftier Dungeness crabs we have here. Cannot wait to try this. Great post!

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    1. I believe so Jun ... Dungeness crab is a great alternative ... wish I could try it too soon. :-)

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  20. Oh, it looks so divine! I love crabs, and I often enjoy picking on its flesh. Chili crab sounds sinfully great, and your photos make me want to have some right now :)

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    1. Love of crabs and enjoyment in picking on its flesh are quite bad news for the tasty crustaceans :-) Thanks Pearl

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  21. Crab dish like yours with lots of garlic and heat is always going to be a hit on our dinner table. This is making me hungry, Boyet.

    ~ ray ~

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    1. Thanks Ray, the crisp garlic and chili bits is really one of the important components of the dish ... :-)

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