Steamed Flower Crabs in Taucheo Sauce
Steamed flower crabs in taucheo chilli is one of many of my mum’s signature dishes. The taucheo (soya bean paste) chilli sauce is so easy to make with only three ingredients (taucheo, chilli padi and garlic). It is also very versatile and can be used in many other stir-fry dishes such as with pork or yong tau foo. I like to drizzle the spicy and savoury sauce over my rice. Flower crabs are used and not only are they cheap locally, they are quite meaty too. I’m really glad that I got over my phobia of crabs cooking, and shall start to experiment with more crabs recipes in future.
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- 3 to 4 flower crabs (花蟹)
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 chilli padi (bird’s eye chili/adjust or omit according to preference)
- 1 tbsp taucheo (soy bean paste/ 豆酱)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 500ml water
1. Remove the crab shell and cut it in two along the center. Remove and discard the spongy gills.
2. Using an electric blender, first grind the garlic and chilli until finely chopped. Add in taucheo and blend until a paste is formed. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
3. Heat oil in wok, and stir fry taucheo paste prepared in step 2 until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add flower crab pieces to the wok and stir fry briefly to coat them in the taucheo sauce.
5. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover the wok with lid and let the crabs steam for about 15 minutes. If the water dries up at any time during steaming, add more water.
1. Tip from my mum: When grinding the taucheo chilli paste, the garlic and chilli are added to the blender first. Add the taucheo only after the garlic and chilli become finely chopped. This is because the sticky taucheo will prevent the garlic and chilli from being grinded if everything is added in the blender at the same time.
2. I asked the wet market auntie to prep the crabs for me (step 1), so they are good for cooking right away.
3. There should be some resultant watery sauce for this dish, which makes a great gravy over white rice, so add water accordingly to how much gravy you like.
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