Steamed crab on glutinous rice

Sometimes you just wanna eat some crab and enjoy its fresh, clean taste. This is a simple meal that lets the crab remain the star. Rich dishes like Singapore chilli crab are fantastic but all that garlic, chilli and sweetness blankets the seafood and you can get caught up in eating the crab as a conduit for the moreish sauce.

Mister Crabby

Mister Crabby

Although there are very few ingredients, steamed crab on glutinous rice isn’t the kind of thing you can whip up at the last minute as the rice needs to be soaked for 3 hours beforehand. You also need to be brave and buy a live crab! Don’t worry, you place the crab in the freezer for 20 minutes so it ‘falls asleep’ before you chop it but it still can be daunting to do.

It's a boy!

It’s a boy!

Some recipes omit giving the crab a scrub but since it’ll infuse the rice with flavour, the last thing you want is a dirty crab. I like to use a toothbrush to really get Mister Crabby clean before he goes into the steam room (aka wok). Or maybe sometimes it’s Ms Crabby! To see if a crab is male or female, turn it over. The shape of the crab’s lower abdomen will indicate its sex. Males are narrower and triangular, while females have a rounder, broader underbelly. Females also sometimes contain orange crab roe which can be used in cooking. Depending on where you live and the type of crab, females may be outlawed from being eaten to protect the species and ensuring stocks aren’t depleted.

Ginger scattered over the crab which rests on a bed of glutinous (sticky) rice

Ginger scattered over the crab which rests on a bed of glutinous (sticky) rice

The sticky (glutinous) rice is steamed for 15 minutes first so after the crab is placed on top and it’s steamed for a further 20 minutes or so, the grains of rice end up perfectly cooked. Have some simple greens alongside and this should feed four people as sticky rice is quite filling.

Ready for final steaming

Ready for final steaming

Just about to fluff and serve

Just about to fluff and serve

It’s important to lift up the crab pieces and gently fluff the rice around before eating. This mixes the ginger and crab flavour infused rice so everyone can scoop some that’s been sitting under Mister Crabby (well, pieces of him). It’s the least you can do after he’s given up those delicious juices for you.

Feeds: 4 people
Start cooking: 5 hours before eating

Steamed crab on glutinous rice

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams x glutinous (sticky) rice
  • 1 x whole mud crab
  • 1 thumb sized x fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons x vegetable oil
  • 1 scant teaspoon x salt

Method:

  1. Soak glutinous rice in water for 3 hours. Strain the rice in a colander for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the soaked rice into a large, deep plate or large shallow bowl. Mix in the salt and vegetable oil and make sure it’s evenly layered on the plate.
  3. Heat up your wok or pot and steam the rice for 15 minutes to parcook it.
  4. Mince the ginger finely.
  5. Place your live crab in your freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Then remove the crab from the freezer. Using a heavy cleaver, chop the crab into half. Cut the claws off. Then cut the body halves into thirds.
  7. Scrub the crab pieces. When clean, use your cleaver to crack the claws so they’ll let out some of their juices and be easier to eat later on.
  8. Layer the crab pieces over the rice and scatter the minced ginger over the crab.
  9. Steam for 20 minutes, fluff the rice and then serve.
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