Recipe: Fried Soft-shell Crab with Tartar Sauce

So someone gave me a box of soft-shell crab, specifically mud crabs from Indonesia. Soft-shell crab are basically crabs that just molted or crawled out of its old shell. Like what happens to snakes and some bugs. I’m not sure if these crustaceans are farmed or fishermen catch them by waiting for molting season (is there such a thing?) or fishermen caught them by chance. Anyway, I didn’t know how to cook this type of crab but I discovered the most common way is just to fry it.

The crabs that I got were not yet cleaned so I researched how-to’s and it was quite easy (you can Google it but I’ll explain it below, no pictures though). This recipe is simple and I accompanied it with a tartar sauce, which is always perfect for seafood.

Ingredients

500 g soft-shell crab (5 to 6 pcs.)
1 cup of flour
1 lemon
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Tartar sauce

½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. chopped chives

Procedure

1. Clean the crabs. You can actually ask your fishmonger to do this. First, using kitchen shears cut off the face of the crab. Then lift the side of the top shell and remove the gills (the pointy things with bristles). Do this on both sides. Then flip the crab and on its underside or abdomen, remove the triangular shell cover completely. And you’re done!
2. Make the tartar sauce. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Pat the crabs with a cloth or paper towel, but don’t wipe it completely dry. Then season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, season the flour lightly and spread on a plate. While doing this, heat oil in a pan. You can do a deep fry method or shallow fry. What I used was the shallow frying method.
4. Dredge crabs with flour. Let the crab sit for a couple of minutes before putting in oil.
5. Fry the crabs, cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes. It’s important that you do not overcook the crabs. You want them crispy on the outside, tender and juicy in the inside. Also when frying, do not overcrowd the pan.
6. Place on paper towels after removing from pan then serve immediately. Squeeze lemon on crab before serving. Serve tartar sauce on the side. Eat them with a side of salad or seafood soup. Enjoy!

Serves 2 to 3

Recipe: Thai-style Mussels

When I attended Mida Food’s 20th anniversary luncheon, each guest were given a bag full of frozen seafood—scallops, bacalao, softshell crab, prawns, and mussels—as a giveaway. The distributor of premium fresh and frozen seafood is known for its quality frozen products through its retail brand Pacific Bay. I immediately thought of various recipes for the seafood. I wanted to do something different for the mussels. It’s a pound of good shellfish, important from New Zealand, which was also already pre-cooked. I browsed the web and found Jamie Oliver’s Thai-style recipe. It looked simple and easy so I tried it and tweaked it a bit.

Ingredients

1 kg. mussels
1 1/2 cups fresh coconut cream
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 stalk lemon grass
1 tsp. cilantro stalks
2 pcs. bird’s eye chili (or Thai chili), chopped
1 pc. lime
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Procedure

1. Clean mussels or ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Steam or boil them for about 5 minutes until they open up. Discard any mussel that remained closed. Set aside about a cup of the water you used to cook the mussels.
2. Prep the lemon grass and cilantro. Pound the white part of the stalk until it cracks and opens up. Cut stalk into one-inch pieces. Then, separate the leaves of the cilantro from the stalks. Chop the stalks into small pieces.
3. In a pot, saute garlic and onions in vegetable oil for about 2 minutes, then add lemon grass and cilantro stalks and saute for another 2 minutes. Add coconut cream and water. Wait until it boils.
4. When boiling, add fish sauce and chili. Stir and taste, add salt if necessary. Add more chili if you want it extra spicy. Then add cooked mussels, stir and let simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes.
5. Turn off heat and squeeze lime over the mussels and mix. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges. Enjoy!

Serves 2 to 3

Recipe: Strawberry Ice Cream (No Machine)

Ever since I discovered this no machine ice cream recipe by Bigger Bolder Baking, I’ve been making this cold creamy dessert at home ever since. Not that I don’t like store-bought ice cream (I love ice cream, whatever brand it is), it’s because it’s easier and I can experiment with flavors. I can also make my favorite mocha flavor, a flavor that most local ice cream brands weirdly don’t make today. This method is so easy and guarantees a smooth ice cream every time. I made this flavor since I had strawberries lying around, a souvenir from a recent trip. I also made ube (purple yam) flavor but it didn’t have enough ube jam so it was kind of a fail.

Ingredients

350 ml whipping cream, chilled
½ cup condensed milk
2 cups of chopped fresh strawberries
½ cup of diced fresh strawberries

Procedure

1. Before making ice cream, make sure to chill your whipping cream, condensed milk, and strawberries overnight. And right before actually making it, chill a stainless bowl (or mixer bowl) and mixer whisks in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
2. Puree 2 cups of chopped fresh strawberries. Add a bit of water to help blender process it. Set aside.
3. Whip whipping cream using chilled tools until it doubles in volume and form soft peaks. Then add condensed milk and strawberry puree. Whip the mixture until it thickens some more, forming stiff peaks. Taste mixture and adjust according to your desired sweetness. Add more condensed milk if desired.
4. Using a spatula, fold in diced fresh strawberries until mixed through. Put the mixture in a container and freeze overnight.

Serves 6 to 8

Recipe: Turbo-Broiled Lechon Kawali

Lechon Kawali (lechon translates to roast pork while kawali means a deep frying pan) is a classic Filipino dish that uses a whole slab of pork belly, boiled then deep-fried until skin is crunchy, almost like pork rind cracklings. This traditional cooking method requires a lot of oil. Pork belly is fatty as it is so frying it makes it extra sinful, which makes it more delicious (haha). Another method is cooking the meat in an oven or turbo broiler to keep things “healthier.” In this recipe, I used the turbo broiler because it’s a more common kitchen appliance in the Philippines. The skin turned out perfect—crunchy. Make sure not to overcook it, however, because the meat will turn out dry.

Ingredients

1,250 grams (2.75 lbs.) whole pork belly
1 tbsp. salt

Dipping sauce
1 red onion, diced
1 pc. red chili
¼ cup water
3 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar

Procedure

1. Put pork belly in a pot of water. The water should cover the meat entirely. Add in salt and wait until it boils. Simmer meat for 40 minutes. While waiting for this, prepare a wire rack preferably resting on a pan.
2. Turn off heat then remove meat from the water. Put on rack, the pan beneath will catch any drippings to lessen mess. Let cool and sit on the rack for an hour. This is an important part of the procedure because air cooling helps make a crunchy skin. Preheat turbo broiler at 200°C, 5 minutes before actual broiling.
3. Put in meat skin down and cook for 30 minutes. After, turn the meat skin up and turn up temperature to 250°C. Cook for another 10 minutes or until skin is crunchy. The skin will turn red and cracklings will form. When done, remove from broiler and let rest for 10 minutes before chopping.
4. For the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients together, mix until sugar melts. Serve alongside pork.
5. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Serves 6