Monday, October 20, 2008
I love my Tuesday Bible Study group. Really! They are the sweetest bunch of people I have the privilege of knowing. Remember last Tuesday was my daughter's birthday? When they found out that it was going to coincide with our weekly fellowship, they wanted to help me celebrate! :) V, with her gift of generosity, bought several kilos of live crabs from the market and brought them here to my house. She instructed my maid on how to kill and clean them. H, with her talent and creativity and patience in cooking, cooked the crabs for all of us, and shared her father-in-law's recipe for Drunken Crabs!
Actually, this is their family's secret recipe for crabs. They do not even have a name for it. Hubby was the one who named it Drunken Crabs because H used a whole bottle of gin in the cooking! Truly, this is the best crab we have ever tasted! Even better than the ones in first class restaurants here in Manila!
2 and 1/2 Kilos fresh live crabs
several large knobs of fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
several large knobs of fresh turmeric (yellow ginger), peeled, sliced
lots and lots of garlic, minced
1 bottle (1 liter) local gin (may be substituted with cooking wine)
400 ml sesame oil
2 T salt
1/2 C chili paste (more or less depending on how spicy you want the dish to be)
1. To clean the crabs, use a toothbrush or a bigger brush and brush away the shell of the live crabs (the claws were tied) in running water. Make sure all the nooks and crannies are cleaned. Then, chop the crab in half. You can remove the strings that are restraining the crab claws at this point. Clean the "elbow" of the claws. Remove the triangle part under the tummy of the crab. (I should have taken a picture of this. But it was V who was doing the cleaning. I had to prepare the other dishes. Next time I cook this, I promise to take a picture and show you. But the triangle can hardly be missed.)
2. Heat up some sesame oil in a hot wok or a big cooking pan. Add in all the sliced turmeric and ginger. When it turns fragrant, add in the garlic. Saute until fragrant but not burnt.
3. Add in the crabs. Cover for a minute or two. Add in the gin. Cover again. After a few minutes, mix everything to make sure all the crabs are cooked evenly.
4. Add some salt and chili paste. Mix everything until all the flavors are mixed and fully absorbed by the crabs. Continue cooking until crabs are cooked, around 15 minutes. By this time, the sauce is going to thicken. Do not overcook the crabs or the meat is going to be tough.
5. Add the rest of the sesame oil just before turning off the heat.
Can you smell the flavor of the crab? The heavenly combination of alcohol, chili and sesame oil truly made this dish very fragrant and truly superb! It is very, very flavorful, I guarantee that you are going to lick every drop of sauce on the shells and on your plate!
Gin is a type of spirit or alcoholic drink that is made with grain and flavored with juniper berries. This is usually used by the Filipinos in their cooking. What the Cooking wine is to the Chinese, it is the gin to the Filipinos. Primarily because it is widely available and the price is reasonable. Plus, it is colorless, making it easy to use.
Sesame oil is of course the popular Asian oil made from sesame seeds, that is used in every Chinese stir fry. This give a dish a "Chinese" character. But do you know that the Chinese have been using this for medicinal and therapeutic purposes? The combination of ginger, wine and sesame oil is usually used to help mothers recover immediately from the strains of childbirth. I remember during the first 30 days after I gave birth, all of my food contained ginger, wine and sesame oil. This combination is also used to help strengthen any body who are weak and needs more energy. But then, the elderly people are discouraged from taking this because it might raise their blood pressure.
Modern science has shown that sesame has lots of anti-oxidant properties. It also contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6.
Sharing this dish made fragrantly delicious with gin and sesame oil with the Weekend Herb Blogging Community, headed by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This week's host is Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. To see last week's array of delicious dishes, please check out Amy and Jonny of We are Never Full.
Daughter is very happy that so many friends came to celebrate her birthday with us! Another post on Daughter's birthday dishes coming soon. Also please stay tuned for more of H's famous dishes as well. She will be my guest blogger soon! :)