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28/05/2020 - 08:16

Spicy roasted Calappa crab claws with salt and chili

Roasted Calappa crab claws with salt and chili has the salty taste of the sea, the spiciness of ​​chili, and the savory fresh flavor of Calappa crab claw meat. The dish makes a perfect snack, but some beer to side with is even better.

Spicy Calappa crab claws with enriched sea flavor

On a day off, my husband and I chose to return to his fatherland with his brother’s family instead of hanging out in a restaurant as usual. We were treated to a feast of chicken and duck meat prepared by my mother-in-law as she knew her kids were coming home. 

We were in the kitchen when the sound of a motorboat came in. We knew immediately that the fishing boats then began to dock, so my husband’s little brother grabbed a basket and headed straight to the sea harbor. Before the whole family could ask, as we thought he went out to buy some fish or fresh shrimps to show off his skills as a chef, he dashed back in with a basket full of calappa crab claws.

"Gosh, there were tons of these. It's been so long since I last collected Calappa crab claws. Everyone wanted to give me some. Wait and see me treat you guys to roasted Calappa crab claws with salt and chili”, said the little brother excitedly.

Calappa crab claws are the claws of a kind of sea crab whose body is not meaty except for the two thick, fleshy claws. People in coastal fishing villages catching fish near shore often catch these crabs clinging to their nets. The fishermen then remove them off the nets and discard them, only to give away to seafood lovers or to sell to restaurants and food stalls for pairing with beer.

At coastal seafood restaurants, Calappa crab claws are also cooked in various ways: roasted with salt, roasted with tamarind, or steamed ... with prices from 50-70 thousand VND / plate. I’d heard of Calappa crab claws roasted with salt and chili, but I’d never tried the dish, so I went out and waited to see if my husband's brother could make it as he proudly said.

Calappa crab claws after being washed were slightly crushed so seasonings could penetrate through the cracked shells. Steam the claws and prepare the marinade in the meantime, including finely chopped garlic and chili pepper mixed with salt, sugar, and a dash of fish sauce (the amount of marinade depended on the number of Calappa crab claws).

Cooked Calappa crab claws were then removed to drain off water. Place the pan on the stove, heat plenty of cooking oil and fry some minced garlic. Stir well to arouse fragrance.

As soon as the garlic turned light brown, add the Calappa crab claws and toss well in the pan. Pour in the prepared marinade, then toss them all again for 5-7 minutes to complete the dish with a deliciously spicy aroma. 

Only after a while, we finished cooking all courses for the party. We did some decent food arrangements, and the Calappa crab claws stood out with its eye-catching bright red color and obvious mouth-watering fragrance.

We followed today’s chef’s guide to eat Calappa crab claws from the outside. That was, before discarding the cracked shells for the claw meat, we would first enjoy the outer layer of seasonings. Just a bite and the spiciness ran straight up and burned the nose. We might have just given up, but we were tempted by another appeal of salty and fragrant flavor. Then the thick, rich fleshy texture of crab claw meat underneath made the next bite absolutely hard to resist.

The more we ate, the more we got addicted, just like how my parents-in-law had "warned" us before the first try. Now they knew for sure what we would long to have again on our next trip back home. 

Story and photo: Thao Vy

 

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