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Curried crab claws with fennel and fresh herbs

Serves: 3

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty

  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and chopped into 8 long chunks
  • 600-800g crab claws
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 150g yellow curry paste
  • 30g yellow bean paste
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 100ml hot fish stock
  • 3 tbsp thick tamarind water
  • 30g brown crab meat
  • 250ml coconut cream
  • 10g Thai sweet basil (or Italian basil)
  • 10g coriander leaves, torn, to garnish
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, to garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

There is nothing better in life than serving people with a plate of food that is too delicious to resist, but impossible to eat without making a complete mess of themselves!

This recipe by Sebby Holmes of Farang needs to be served with lots of napkins and finger bowls, otherwise, you’d better sit everyone outside to protect the walls and ceilings from a crab attack. Best shared with a large group of friends, accompanied with steamed jasmine rice.

1. In a large saucepan, bring some water to a simmer with the salt. Blanch the fennel for 3 minutes until softened, then remove it from the pan and set aside. Now go straight in with the crab claws and simmer for 3 minutes to part-cook them.

2. Remove them from the water and set aside to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, gently tap each claw with a pestle or rolling pin to crack open the claw and allow easy access for your diners.

3. In a large non-stick wok or pan, heat the coconut oil until it is bubbling and sizzling. Add the yellow curry paste and the yellow bean paste to the pan and fry for 6–8 minutes, stirring all the time, until the paste begins to darken, then add the palm sugar and cook for a further minute or so until the sugar has begun to caramelise and the paste darkens a little more.

4. At this point, deglaze the pan with the soy sauce and add the fish stock, tamarind water, crab meat, 200ml of the coconut cream, the blanched fennel and the crab claws. Cover with a lid and simmer for 2–3 minutes until the crab claws are cooked through and the fennel has softened a little more.

5. At this point, the curry should taste sweet, salty and fishy; the sourness and spiciness are added with the garnish. Stir in the basil leaves and remaining coconut cream, then serve in a big pile topped with the coriander, chilli powder and lime wedges, accompanied by steamed jasmine rice and finger bowls.

6. Stir in the basil leaves and remaining coconut cream, then serve in a big pile topped with the coriander, chilli powder and lime wedges, accompanied by steamed jasmine rice and finger bowls.

 

Taken from Cook Thai by Sebby Holmes, published by Kyle Books (£19.99). Photography by Tom Regester.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and chopped into 8 long chunks
  • 600-800g crab claws
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 150g yellow curry paste
  • 30g yellow bean paste
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 100ml hot fish stock
  • 3 tbsp thick tamarind water
  • 30g brown crab meat
  • 250ml coconut cream
  • 10g Thai sweet basil (or Italian basil)
  • 10g coriander leaves, torn, to garnish
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, to garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

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