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Our time spent with family in the Mekong delta was all about eating local dishes and cooking with local produce. My father created the spicy sate sauce recipe, used here and in other recipes, while attempting to make the traditional version. Vietnamese sate sauce is not like the Malay-style peanut satay sauce — the Vietnamese version is chillibased and is used in stir-fries and added to broths.
To prepare your crabs humanely, place them in the freezer for 1 hour to put them to sleep. Remove the upper shell of the crab, pick off the gills, which look like little fingers, and discard them. Clean the crab under running water and drain. Place the crab on its stomach and chop the crab in half lengthways with a heavy cleaver, then chop each half into 4 pieces. With the back of the cleaver, gently crack each claw — this makes it easier to
Extract the meat.
Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 200°C (400°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 5 seconds. Dust the crab pieces with potato starch, shaking off the excess. Deep-fry the crab in batches for 3 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove the crab from the wok and drain on paper towel. Remove the oil, reserving 2 tablespoons, and clean the wok.
Heat the reserved oil in the wok, then add the capsicum and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the shallots and garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the saté sauce and stir for 1 minute. Return the crab to the wok with the spring onions and toss, making sure to coat the crab well. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chilli. Serve with jasmine rice and finger bowls.
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