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Soft Shell Crabs in Black Bean and Chili Sauce

1 cup vegetable oil
4 each soft shell crab soft shell
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons black beans salted, in hot water, drained, mashed into a paste
4 each garlic cloves minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger root finely minced
2 each red chili peppers tear into small pieces, do not discard seeds
1 each scallions, spring or green onions cut into pea-sized pieces including the green
1/2 cup green bell peppers or red, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chinese (xiao xiang) wine or pale dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon monosodium glutamate optional
2 tablespoons soy sauce, light
1/4 cup chicken broth clear
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water


Heat 1 cup oil in Wok to deep-fry temp. Add crabs and deep fry until they turn orange. Drain crabs and discard oil. Clean and dry the Wok. Heat the Wok over high heat. Swirl in 2 tablespoons oil. When oil is hot, add seasonings. Stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and stir fry for about 10 seconds. Stir in sauce mixture. Put cooked crabs back into Wok. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook until sauce comes to a boil. Stir in cornstaarch and water. Stir and cook until sauce is thickened. Put on a serving plate. Serve hot. NOTE: For a less pungent hot dish, use 1 tablespoon salted black beans and 1 dried chili pepper. When you buy soft shell crabs, be sure they are still alive. Usually they look quite dead, weak and limp. Touch their legs, eyes, or mouth. Even if they respond only slightly and slowly, they are still alive. Refrigerate them as soon as you get home. Cleaning them is quite simple. Clip off the eyes and mouth. Lift the top shell and remove the soft feather-like gills and discard them. Turn the crab bottom up. Tear off and discard the cartlidge. (the shape of the female's is half-oval, the male's is a narrow triangle).

Source: recipeland.com