Chilli caramel paddle crab with coriander
Photo by Tamara West
Paddle crabs are commonly found along most of New Zealand’s coast, so a superb lunch is never far away for those willing to make the effort. For everyone else a good fish shop is your next best bet!
|250 ml||Fish stock|
|5||Paddle crabs, fresh, whole, live|
|1 bunch||Baby pak choy, roughly chopped|
|6||Spring onions, thinly sliced|
|2 bunches||Coriander, picked|
|½ cup||Shallot, crispy|
|1 to taste||Fish sauce|
|1½ cups||Jasmine rice, lightly steamed|
Chilli caramel sauce
- To prepare humanely, place paddle crabs in the freezer for one hour. With a sharp knife, split each crab down the centre, remove top shell and dead man’s fingers, (gills) and rinse in cold water to clean. Cut into quarters and crack the large claws using the back of a large cook’s knife.
- In a wok or large frying pan, bring fish stock to the boil. Add crab pieces, reduce heat slightly, cover and simmer until crab is just cooked, stirring occasionally (3 to 4 minutes should suffice.)
- Add pak choi, spring onions, half the chilli caramel sauce and a splash more water if required. Cook for a further minute and season to taste with lime juice and fish sauce. Add extra chilli caramel sauce for more intensive flavour if desired.
- Divide crabs equally between 4 bowls and sprinkle liberally with coriander and crispy shallots. Serve immediately with fresh lime and a large bowl of steamed jasmine rice to share.
- To make the chilli caramel: grind chillies, onion, coriander root and garlic in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy based frying pan over a moderate heat. Add paste and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Add palm sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes until golden in colour. Add 50ml cold water and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add tamarind and fish sauce to taste. The caramel will keep for one month in the fridge.
- To make steamed rice: place 1½ cups jasmine rice in a medium saucepan and cover with 1½ cups cold water. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to very low for 2 to 3 minutes before turning off completely. Leave for a further 10 minutes before serving.