Mud crab with glass vermicelli
Simple things are often the best.
This is one of the ways my mum cooks mud crab. It’s lighter tasting than the restaurant version. If you go out and order this, they first dust the crab with flour and deep fry it before cooking with the aromatics including ginger, spring onion and garlic. So it ends up being greasy and heavy.
I like using glass vermicelli (clear noodles made of mung bean) as they soak up the flavour of the dish. In fact, it’s my favourite part! I always eat more noodles than crab. If I visit my parents, then they always cook it this way for me. Otherwise, my parents will just steam the crabs whole and eat it more simply.
My mum hates it when I pop by without warning. She asked me to stop visiting without notice so she can plan to cook special things for me. But I like a bit of spontaneity. So I continue to thwart her. Sorry mum!
Ginger and spring onion mud crab with glass vermicelli
Feeds: 4 people
Start cooking: 1 hour before eating
- 2 x live, whole mud crabs
- 10cm piece of ginger with skin scraped off
- 3 stalks of spring onion, cut into 5cm lengths, green parts and all
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 x tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 x tablespoon of corn flour
- 2 and a half x cups of water
- 3 handfuls x unsoaked glass vermicelli
- Soak the glass vermicelli in cold water for 15 minutes until softened. You may want to snip the strands with scissors so they’re slightly shorter.
- If you feel squeamish, get your fishmonger to chop your crab for you – ideally an hour before you start cooking. Crab like most shellfish deteriorate very quickly so it’s best to cook it ASAP. Otherwise, prepare your mud crab by placing in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will put them to sleep. After 20 minutes, remove your crab and place belly side up on your chopping board. Pull off the triangular ‘mouth’ and crab shell. Then using a heavy cleaver, chop the crab into half. Cut the halves into half or thirds again depending on how large your crabs are. Using the back of your cleaver, to crack the claws so they’ll be easier to eat later on.
- Rinse the crab pieces in lightly running water, pulling off the lungs aka “dead man’s fingers”. Drain in a colander until ready to cook.
- Slice the ginger 2mm thick.
- Drain the vermicelli.
- Heat up your wok to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Slide in the ginger and the pale section of the spring onions and stir for a minute.
- Toss in the crab pieces and green sections of the spring onion and move around for 2 minutes. Once the crab starts to change colour, pour in 2 cups of water and cover with the wok lid. Let it cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Uncover the crab, pour in the soy sauce and stir. Add in the glass vermicelli, mix and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes.
- Create a cornflour slurry by mixing half a cup of water with the cornflour and pour into the wok. Stir and replace the wok lid for another minute. The noodles will cook, soaking up the fresh crab, ginger and spring onion flavours.
- Uncover the wok and taste the noodles and see if there’s enough seasoning. If not, add in some salt or a little slosh of soy sauce. Give the whole dish a final mix and serve immediately.
You’ll notice the version above doesn’t have garlic. This is deliberate as you end up with a very fresh, clean taste. Garlic makes it heavier with a strong aftertaste.