I have a very special place for mud crabs….in my stomach, I just love them, and I reckon the reason I love them so much is that you generally always buy them alive so you know that they are fresh. Luckily for me I also have the added thrill of being able to catch them whenever I visit Darwin. I have a good mate up there Named Steve Travia AKA as the Fish Whisperer, and we head off to his property a few hours west of Darwin and what follows is a week of hunting, fishing, drinking and laughing (not to mention hard work) We put our pots out on the first day (usually very early depending on the tides) and at sunset when we are coming back from a 10 hour fishing session we check the traps and generally have quite a few to make a feed – this is done daily and mud crab is on the menu nightly along side of barramundi, coral trout, golden snapper, mojitos, beers…you get the picture. Anyway as mud crabs are like weeds up there we learn to create many delicious recipes up there to get rid of the darn things…..it’s a bloody tough life being an Aussie or a mud crab!
Freeze the crabs until they are killed
Remove the top head shell and discard
Remove the gills (or dead mans fingers as they are also known)
Clean out any excess muck (rinse very lightly and quickly)
Cut in half lengthways, then cut into 3 on each side using a cleaver
Crack the claws with the back of a knife or cleaver just so they open a bit to let the sauce in.
Heat oil in a wok
Add garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander root and cook until fragrant
Add the crabs and toss for 1 minute
Add tomato sauce, chilli sauce, water, hoi sin sauce, fish sauce, sugar and salt.
Stir to combine the ingredients, bring to the boil.
Cover and allow to simmer/steam for about 10 minutes
Add in the green onions, cherry tomatoes and herbs and serve with steamed jasmine rice, crab crackers, crab pickers, finger bowls and bibs
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