This is my signature dish named Full Moon Crab because mud crabs are traditionally harvested on a full moon. Don't skimp on the herbs because they are the essence to this Vietnamese dish.
Chilli tomato broth
- 2 litres chicken stock
- 4 birdseye chillies, chopped
- 100 g ginger, chopped
- 200 g tomatoes, chopped
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 head garlic
- 1 bunch coriander roots
- 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
Chilli mud crab
- 1 x 1.2 kg live mud crab
- 1 tbsp ginger oil or cooking oil
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 birdseye chilli, julienned
- 1 small knob ginger, julienned
- 12 sprigs coriander
- 12 basil leaves
- 2 tbsp crispy fried shallots
- 250 g jasmine rice
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 1 piece pandan leaf (5 cm long)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Freezing time: 1 hour
For the chilli tomato broth, simmer all of the ingredients together in a large stockpot for 2 hours. Strain the stock through a sieve, pushing the pulp firmly with a wooden spoon to extract all the goodness. Discard the solids and set the stock aside.
For the chilli mud crab, place the mud crab in the freezer for 1 hour until it falls asleep. Flip the top shell off the crab to expose its insides. Flush out the stomach sac and appendages under running water. Cut the crab into 6 pieces. Crack the large claws with a hammer or nutcracker.
Heat the wok and add the ginger oil. Stir-fry the crab pieces until they turn red. Add the chilli tomato broth and place a lid over the wok and steam until the crab is cooked. Check the large claws, as they take the longest to cook. The flesh should be opaque all the way to the cartilage and come away easily when pressed with a knife.
Add the tomato, chilli, ginger, coriander and basil and toss to distribute the flavours.
For the coconut rice, wash rice thoroughly under running water. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring the rice to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 or until the rice is cooked.
To serve, spoon the crab into a large serving dish and keep warm. Simmer the remaining sauce until reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more chilli if you like. Pour the sauce over the crabs. Sprinkle with the crispy fried shallots and serve with coconut rice.
Geoff Lindsay is the head chef of Dandelion.
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