Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stuffed Crab Claws

I love stuffed crab claws.

Not stuffed but wrapped with prawn paste,these claws should be re-named crab drumsticks because that's what they look like. You make a springy prawn paste, stick a crab claw you've salvaged from your last crab meal and deep-fry the lump of paste into a crispy tasty drumstick which you eat with English mustard sauce or Worchestershire sauce. Super yummy. Wey went, "Ummm, mom, this is the best!" and emphasized it with his eyes closed, smiling. From a person who doesn't eat seafood, it is a compliment to die for. Love the boy. He always hit the nail on my head when my cooking falls short, no feelings spared. But when the food's good, he'll tell me with a flourish too. Ming came down, took a bite and said, "Wow, mom, this is really really good. Seriously good." By this time I was all puffed up. Hub came home, took a bite and I had to coax him to say it was the best he'd ever eaten. Ego slightly deflated, I consoled myself that Hub was not as encouraging because by the time he came home (I had to fry the claws before the sun went down to take my photos) the drumsticks had softened in our humid weather.

Crab claws was a banquet item for weddings and birthdays when I was, let's just say, much younger. These days, only Diamond restaurant in Foh Sang and Winner Hotel serve this dish and their crab claws do not taste as good. This could be because prawns are now considerably pricier and lower-grade white prawns are used, alongwith lots of pork fat. I find that hard-skin or sand prawns are a good substitute for the expensive yellow prawns although for this recipe I used white prawns just because that was what I had in my fridge, although as a rule I don't buy white prawns anymore because I found out recently that white prawns are farmed which means they are full of antibiotics and processed feed.

If the fire's too hot, your crab drumstick not only will be too brown (look at the one in the center of the first picture) but it will also puff up way too much so that when it cools it will shrivel. The only problem with this recipe is I can't get the crab claws to stay crisp. Re-frying them will get them crisp again and that's probably what the restaurants do. Any idea how to overcome that?


Stuffed Crab Claws

1 full cup raw shelled prawns
1 T pork fat
1/8 t or less salt (amended)
a few shakes of white pepper
1/2 an egg white
1/2 T cornflour
1/2 t fine sugar
2 shakes of msg (optional)

1 t bicarb of soda
cornflour to coat
oil for frying
crab legs and pinchers

1. Using your hands, knead the bicarb of soda into the prawns. Leave 1 hour. Rinse and dry the prawns on paper towels, then mince them in a food processor until fine. Put prawn paste into a large bowl. Cut the pork fat (get the thick firm fat) into very tiny bits, size of a green bean or smaller but don't chop into a paste. Mix fat into the prawn paste together with all the seasoning ingredients and, using either your hands or a large metal spoon, churn the paste round and round in the bowl. After a while the paste will turn whiter and stiff. Keep churning because the stiffer the paste the more springy the bite when the paste is cooked. Leave paste in fridge to firm up, about 1/2 hour at least.

2. Put 1 cup cornflour on a plate. Using a dinner spoon, roughly divide the paste out into about 8 portions to make sure you get drumsticks of uniform size. Scoop a heaped dinnerspoon of the prawn paste and dump it on the cornflour, using another spoon to scrape it off the dinner spoon. Put a crab pincher on the paste and with floured fingers, gently mould the paste around the pincher, patting it into a nice drumstick shape, with lots of flour coating it. Place it on the plate of cornflour. Repeat until all paste is used up. Put drumsticks into fridge for another 1/2 hour so it is easy to handle.

3. Heat up oil (enough to cover) in a wok or pot and deep-fry the crab drumsticks in 2 or 3 batches. Make sure heat is medium hot. It will take only 2 minutes or so to cook. Time one and see how long it takes because cooking time depends on the size of your drumstick.

Serve with Worchestershire sauce or English mustard. Good as a snack or make them smaller as appetizers or hors d'oeuvres.


Mandy said...

these look so good! And they are homemade too. Kudos Terri for constantly coming up with restaurant-worthy dishes. Maybe you can try finish them in the hot oven brifely? Not sure if this will help though.

Anonymous said...

[Wey went, "Ummm, mom, this is the best!" and emphasized it with his eyes closed, smiling. ]

Hey u want to kill me ? ! ha! I can imagine his korean-eyes closed! plus his good looking smiles! ha! his face-expression = your food judgement is it ?

my mum usually mix some fish paste with the prawns. urs look really good! can sell RM 8 per claw


ekeng said...

Wow...It looks so delicious...I only have steamed crab claws at dim sum place...hahaha :)

Precious Pea said...

Lovely lovely lovely!! Ages since i last had a good one. But errr..those crab claws...really have to save them up the next time i have crabs?

Shan said...

Drool Drool Drool. They're great with wine too.

triShie said...

i just died cos these look sssssooooooooo delicious!!

Moodie Foodie said...

wah...what an awesome dish. too bad i try to avoid deep fried foods. btw, where is garden restaurant? it's so cool u got to meet other floggers. that must be very exciting.

i agree with mandy about using the oven. refrying doesn't always make it crispy again, i think. but i saw u used bicarb soda which should keep it crunchy for a bit. and apparently if u keep it on a wire rack it can retain its crunchiness a bit longer. not sure if it's true though - coz i only heard of it when i used to work for a restaurant.

anyway, supertanker used to have nice prawn/crab claws with the sugarcane center...are those the same thing? haha...

Big Boys Oven said...

looks so professional done, hahahah cant wait to be at your doorstep, unless you are not inviting! lol!

WoMbOk™♂ said...

I can just about imagine sinking my teeth into one of them.

[drool mode]

Danny said...

perhaps i should visit kk soon

Hazza said...

I love this, but I must admit to only having bought ready made ones! Crabs are too expensive here to be able to salvage too many claws!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

mandy: hmm..if there any are leftovers i would try tt. mandy, ur pics r getting better n better! do u use artificial lighting?

denise: hey, thanks, tt's a good idea, i would do tt next time.

ekeng: next time u come back?..

preciousp: i find it more special with the claws bc w/o it, it's just a ball of shrimp meat. (but tt's what it is, what am i talking about..)

shan: yes, definitely!

trish: u r my kind of comment-maker: so funny :) n ur profile pic is so sweet. must be a good girl huh?

foodie: yes, i'll ding it on my new oven next time. yes, i've had shrimp paste on sugarcane (vietnamese) in supertanker but haven't noticed it on their menu the past few yrs.

bbo: ask ekeng, i'm too friendly!

wombok: with the mask-helmet on?

danny: sounds like a threat. if yi gives green light, u r more than welcome :)

hazza: time to come home n spend those pounds here, man.

Danny said...

hoho...if yi doesn't give green light means i'm not welcomed? :(

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

danny: esp not if she gives red light. so u better be a good boy. :D

Danny said...

i will keep that in mind...

words of wisdom

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