Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thai Street Food

David Thompson, the author of "Thai Food", the English-language "bible" of Thai cooking, has done it again. This cookbook is full of great recipes for all of the dishes that you are dying to go to Thailand for.

The recipes are very authentic and straightforward. Mixed in with the recipes are marvelous photos that capture the heart of the Thai street scene.
      Photo from Cookbook

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Garlic and Pepper

4 soft-shell crabs, each about 60-75 g (2 to 2-1/2 oz), thawed if frozen

6 coriander (cilantro) roots, cleaned and chopped


8-10 garlic cloves, unpeeled (about 3 Tbs.)

1 tsp. black peppercorns

3-4 Tbs. (all-purpose) flour

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1 Tbs. chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

Siracha sauce, to serve

To clean the crabs, lift the shell on each side of the body and scrape out the frond-like gills. Snip off the eyes and mouth. Give the crabs a quick rinse then pat dry with a paper towel.

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the coriander roots to a paste with a good pinch of salt. Add the garlic and continue to pound into a somewhat coarse paste. Remove excess or tough garlic skin then stir in the peppercorns, crushing them lightly.

Mix the flour with a large pinch of salt. Dredge the cleaned crabs with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then combine them with the garlic and black pepper paste.

Pour the deep-frying oil into a large, stable wok or a wide, heavy-based pan until it is about two-thirds full. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame until a cooking thermometer registers 180°C (350°F). Alternatively, test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a cube of bread; it will brown in about 15 seconds if the oil is hot enough.

Deep-fry the crabs in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes, turning them a few times to ensure even cooking, until they are cooked and the garlic is golden. Should the garlic start to smell bitter and darken too much before the crabs are ready, quickly scoop it out. Lift out the crabs and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice and a small bowl of sauce Siracha.