Monday, August 10, 2009

Baked Crab With Vermicelli

My dad is a very indifferent eater who doesn't bother one ounce about the distinction between good, average, mediocre or bad food. But the one dish that he does like quite a bit, is Thai style baked crab with vermicelli, especially when the vermicelli has been soaked through with copious amounts of sweet crab juice and chicken stock, and generously flavoured with garlic and chinese parsley. We usually order this dish at Thai Village Sharksfin restaurant, which is my mum's favourite restaurant, but it's not that difficult to make this dish at home.

So on Saturday afternoon, E and I made a special trip down to Tekka market (near the Serangoon road area) to buy live Sri Lankan crabs for this dish, as this type of crabs are much sweeter and meatier. [Note: we really like the newly renovated Tekka market. So much meat, vegetables and fruits of different variety, and cheap too! Can even get hard-to-find stuff like fresh bamboo shoots. ] This monster that we bought weighed a whopping 1.1 kg and cost SGD26, which was really reasonable. He put up a big fight, refusing to go to sleep even after 1 hour in the freezer and was a much tougher nut than we had thought to crack and clean, since his shell was super duper hard. E ended up having to use a hammer to whack at the shell before it gave way.

Eventually we managed to manhandle him into my largest claypot and cooked him up with vermicelli using this easy recipe from Ruth Lau. The baking takes about one hour but it was so worth it since the crab meat was really, really sweet and the vermicelli had soaked up the crabby juice goodness even if it was a tad fragmented (i forgot and left it soaking in hot chicken stock for too long, yikes). You can see my father relishing his crab in the background. My definition of simple happiness - cooking food for the ones you love and seeing them enjoy it so much, even if it is not quite up to restaurant quality (yet). It's really worth all the trouble!

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