Crabs with tamarind sauce (cua rang me)

8-year-old: What is “black widow”?

11-year-old: Think of mom. After she has us, she can eat papa if she doesn’t want to go to the supermarket!

Me: 😈

Hubby: 🥶

Crabs with tamarind sauce (cua rang me)

(Adapted loosely from Helen Pham)

5 stone crabs (about 6 lbs)
100 g pure tamarind + 200 g water
2 shallot (minced)
5 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
1 lemongrass stalk (minced)
1 piece of ginger, about 1″ (minced)
3 tbs sugar
3 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs cornstarch + 1 tbs water
Freshly ground pepper

To cook crabs:

  1. In a large stockpot, boil water.
  2. Drop the crabs into the pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. When the crabs are cool to touch, discard the shells.
  5. Use a sturdy knife to quarter the crabs.
  6. Use a kitchen hammer to lightly smash the claws.
    • Note: you might want to wrap the claws with a piece of paper towel to avoid the broken shells flying everywhere.
  7. Set aside.

To make the tamarind sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat tamarind + water until tamarind is soft.
  2. Pour the tamarind sauce over a sift and discard solids. Set the sauce aside.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbs canola oil under medium-high heat.
  4. Add minced shallots + minced garlic cloves. Fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add minced lemongrass + minced ginger. Fry until fragrant.
  6. Lower the heat and add the tamarind sauce prepared above.
  7. Add sugar + fish sauce.
  8. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbs cornstarch with 1 tbs water. Pour the mixture into the sauce.
  9. Add the crab pieces.
  10. Gently mix until the tamarind sauce fully coats the crabs.
  11. Add some freshly ground pepper.
  12. Serve immediately.