For religious reasons, people of some nations do not eat shellfish (they may only eat fish with scales) and some religions prohibit eating products from living things. Although my Faith does not prohibit us from eating any kind of animal or sea products, my parents, being from the Middle-East, were not used to eating seafood. In fact, they hesitated. The only time we had seafood, a specific white fish (with herb rice/sabzi polo), was on Naw-Ruz, which is traditional.
But, I grew-up in Japan, a country surrounded by ocean. Japanese cuisine includes an elaborate repertoire of seafood dishes. Japanese eat all kinds of treasures from the sea, cooked or raw. Unfortunately, this was not the case at our home. My parents had a hard time acquainting themselves with the idea. I did not learn to appreciate seafood (not everything, but just a few items really) until I came to the USA and when I visited Japan as an adult.
When I turned 50 (many moons ago), something about me changed. I rarely crave seafood and eat it only a few times a year. My story should explain why this is the first seafood post on this blog after almost two years of culinary blogging.
In early 1995, I was sent to beautiful and modern Singapore on a business trip. My Singaporean colleagues wanted to treat me to their most famous meal for dinner, at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant.
If you wish to try insanely tasty chilli and/or black pepper crabs, Jumbo Seafood Restaurant is the place to go. If you only have time to try just one Singaporean food, one of these dishes should be your choice. They are one of those dishes to dig into by hand and not mind looking absolutely messy after finishing your meal. But don’t worry. There will be huge sinks available in several locations, in the midst of dining room tables, for you to wash your face and hands. Also, don’t forget to ask for bibs, which are a must.
As much as I want to post a recipe for the chilli crab dish, I have not tried making it yet (stay tuned). Today, I am posting a very simple version of the black pepper crab. It is easy and you will have all necessary ingredients at hand.
Dungeness Crab in Black Pepper & Lemongrass Sauce
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
Recommend one crab (450~680 gr/1~1.5 lbs) per person.
• 2 crabs = 3 lbs Dungeness or crab available at your market (buy cooked, cleaned & cracked or see here for how to)
• 1 stalk fresh lemongrass – ends, coarse leaves removed & sliced/chopped (= 45 gr)
• 1 Tbsp (12 gr) peeled, sliced, fresh ginger
• 1½ tsp (10 gr) garlic
• 1½ Tbsp natural honey
• 2 Tbsp less-sodium soy sauce
• 1½~2 tsp ground black pepper (actually, this is easy on the quantity, add/adjust to taste)
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• several sprigs of greens for garnish, i.e. cilantro, radish sprouts
◊ In a food processor, finely process lemon grass, ginger and garlic. Empty into a small bowl.
Add honey, soy sauce and black pepper and mix well. (Extra amount of sauce may be made to spoon out from the pot and to be served in individual small dishes at the table.)
◊ In a large pot, heat oil and add black pepper mixture and let it come to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
Add cooked/prepared, warm crabs and stir to coat well. Dish out the the coated crabs into a large platter and garnish with greens (for color and refreshing taste in between bites).
◊ Goes well with hot steaming rice.
~ 慢慢吃！ • Mànmàn chī! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?