Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beer-Steamed Crabs (Cua Hap Bia)

I've been seeing live golden crabs hanging out in tanks at the Oriental markets here for a while, but never got around to buying any until tonight. I picked out two big ones and drove them home while they were clawing their ways around inside the thick paper bag. I was kind of nervous at the thought of preparing live animals even though I've watched my sisters do it so many times before.

So, the crabs hung out in a cold water bath while I prepared the herbs. I placed a large pot over high heat with a glug of olive oil and threw in two stalks of lemongrass and several chili peppers that have been sliced on bias. Some julienned ginger and a couple of smashed garlic cloves made their way into the mix as well. When the herbs have infused the oil, the crabs were drained and thrown into the pot along with a bottle of beer. I steamed them for 20 minutes with the lid on and served the crabs with a side of grilled Japanese eggplants with ponzu sauce. It was a messy meal, but the crab meat was so fresh and sweet. I really do love seafood. :)


C~ said...

mmm that sounds so good. can i ask what type of beer did you use? also, how do you know when the crab is "done". Do you just chuck 'em in alive? Sorry for the silly questions, i want to cook this and get it right lol. x

Tia said...

Thanks! :) You can use whatever beer you have in the fridge--I just happen to have Blue Moon. The crab is done when one of the small legs comes off easily with a simple tug. I threw them in alive, but you can kill them first with a knife, boiling water or freezing them for an hour prior to cooking. Enjoy!