Flower crab sarciado

17 11 2014

“WHAT DO you mean it doesn’t translate?!”  I remember saying to the TV – complete with hand gestures and a raised voice – when the Indian Chef Maya Kaimal was explaining to THE Martha Stewart that her Spinach Thoren dish doesn’t have an exact equivalent English name.  She was talking about the “thoren” part, obviously.  She went on to describe what it means, in length, but she lost me the moment the mustard seeds started popping upon hitting the heated oil.  I just thought that it sounded like a demigod’s name.

(Don’t get me wrong by the way.  I adore Maya Kaimal.  She’s a favorite.)

eNTeNG's flower crab sarciado, or simply, “Sarciadong Alimasag"

eNTeNG’s flower crab sarciado, or simply, “Sarciadong Alimasag”

 

I got reminded of this as I attempt to blog about my recipe for “Sarciadong Alimasag.”  The “alimasag” part is easy.  It translates to blue crab, or “flower crab,” as it is more popularly known here in Singapore.  The “sarciado,” I’m not quite sure of.  I consulted Google Translate, expecting that its “Detect Language” functionality would determine the provenance of the word to be Spanish.  I hit the button and it turned up to be – “Portugese.”  But it shares the same fate as thoren.  No direct translation.

Sarciadong Alimasag” is a dish from my childhood.  It is the fattest blue crabs cooked in a sauce made by sautéing finely minced root aromatics garlic and onions with lots of finely chopped fresh tomatoes.  The salty savory quality to the dish is achieved by adding soy sauce.  For balance – of texture and nutrients, I suppose – string beans are added.

The secret to this dish is using the freshest flower crabs possible.  Here in Singapore, I’ve bought these from the lowest end to the highest end of groceries, both ending in much disappointment.  The crabs – though female – were bereft of the prized roe and worse, frozen to the point that reduces the meat to a pulp.  That is, if you’d be lucky enough to find any meat at all.  So I did what any self–respecting culinarian does, get up at the crack of dawn and head to the nearest wet market where wild–caught seafood could be had, fresh from the shores.  They may be iced in transit but never frozen.

The only stall at the market that sells flower crabs!

The only stall at the market that sells flower crabs!

 

The blue crates hold these blue crabs (blue for blue... it matches!).  A total of five, each with a couple or three layers of crabs.  By the  time I got there, there was only one crate left, with only one layer!  My luck!

The blue crates hold these blue crabs (blue for blue… it matches!). A total of five, each with a couple or three layers of crabs. By the time I got there, there was only one crate left, with only one layer! My luck!

 

This flower crab was ready for its close-up.  And my purchase.

This flower crab was ready for its close-up. And my purchase.

 

There was a mad rush for the flower crabs, and understandably so.  All the Aunties and Uncles who were buying would ask for their purchases to be prepped.  But for me, I do it by myself.

There was a mad rush for the flower crabs, and understandably so. All the Aunties and Uncles who were buying would ask for their purchases to be prepped. But for me, I do it by myself.

 

Today, I may have woken up to the opening strains of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning,” but I’m blogging right now with The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” on heavy rotation in my head.  This batch turned out to be outstanding!

Here’s my recipe, kicked up a notch with the addition of a surprise twist.

 

Bertolli® Classico “Mild Taste” Olive Oil, a thin film on the pan

Garlic, 12 cloves (or to taste) finely minced

Onions, two medium–sized, finely minced

Tomatoes, four medium–sized, seeded, blanched, peeled, finely chopped

The Blue Kitchen Pure Aligue, one heaping tablespoon

Woh Hup® Superior Dark Soy Sauce, three tablespoons (or to taste)

Flower Crabs (Blue Crabs), fresh, wild–caught, 1 kg (SGD 13.00/kg)

String Beans (Long Beans), exactly 20, cut into 3” pieces

The usual root aromatics garlic (exactly 12 cloves) and onions (two medium–sized).

The usual root aromatics garlic (exactly 12 cloves) and onions (two medium–sized).

 

Four medium–sized tomatoes, already seeded, ready to be blanched, peeled and then finely chopped.

Four medium–sized tomatoes, already seeded, ready to be blanched, peeled and then finely chopped.

 

String beans (long beans), exactly 20, here already cut up into 3" pieces.

String beans (long beans), exactly 20, here already cut up into 3″ pieces.

 

Choose string beans (long beans) that are as thin as could be.  Reed-thin.

Choose string beans (long beans) that are as thin as could be. Reed-thin.

 

The onions and tomatoes already prepped.  Both should be chopped as fine as possible.   The garlic is saved, to be pressed fresh on top of the sauté.

The onions and tomatoes already prepped. Both should be chopped as fine as possible. The garlic is saved, to be pressed fresh on top of the sauté.

 

As a key learning from a company-sponsored cooking class I had attended, I have started blanching vegetables, as much as time would allow me, before I use them in my recipes.

As a key learning from a company-sponsored cooking class I had attended, I have started blanching vegetables, as much as time would allow me, before I use them in my recipes.

 

 

  1. Heat a heavy bottom skillet over low–medium flame.  I prefer to use the ones that are really wider than they are taller.  Add a thin film of the Bertolli® Classico “Mild Taste” Olive Oil or any vegetable oil.  In it, sauté the onions, then turn the heat low. Cover the pan to “sweat” the onions, about five minutes.
Step 1:  Sauté the finely minced onions over low–medium heat.

Step 1: Sauté the finely minced onions over low–medium heat.

 

  1. Once the onions have become soft and translucent, add the finely minced garlic.  I do so by pressing the garlic right over the pan, using my handy–dandy IKEA® garlic press.
Press the garlic right over the pan.  I use my handy–dandy IKEA® garlic press.

Press the garlic right over the pan. I use my handy–dandy IKEA® garlic press.

 

Look just how perfect the garlic comes out of this press!  #AWESOME!

Look just how perfect the garlic comes out of this press! #AWESOME!

 

  1. Once the garlic has (been) cooked through – I do not recommend browning the garlic at all – add the finely chopped tomatoes that had first been seeded, blanched and then peeled. Turn the heat up to allow the tomatoes to breakdown into a sauce.

 

Turn the heat up to allow the tomatoes to breakdown into a sauce.

Turn the heat up to allow the tomatoes to breakdown into a sauce.

 

  1. After about five minutes, add The Blue Kitchen Pure Aligue. Mix it well into the sauce.

 

This bottle of The Blue Kitchen Pure Aligue works wonders!

This bottle of The Blue Kitchen Pure Aligue works wonders!

 

This heaping tablespoon of The Blue Kitchen Pure Aligue lends a nutty, almost buttery goodness to the sauce.

This heaping tablespoon of The Blue Kitchen Pure Aligue lends a nutty, almost buttery goodness to the sauce.

 

  1. Season with Woh Hup® Superior Dark Soy Sauce. Add one to four tablespoons of water, as needed.
It's time for the soy sauce!  Lately, I've been in love with Woh Hup® Superior Dark Soy Sauce.

It’s time for the soy sauce! Lately, I’ve been in love with Woh Hup® Superior Dark Soy Sauce.

 

  1. Once the mixture comes back to the bubble, arrange on it the flower crabs (blue crabs). Put the lid back on.
These three flower crabs are huge that they hardly have enough room in my wide pan.

These three flower crabs are huge that they hardly have enough room in my wide pan.

 

  1. My pots and pans have tempered glass lids so I can see exactly what’s going on. But if yours aren’t, check the crabs after being cooked covered for six to 10 minutes.

 

  1. When the crabs have turned color completely, add the string beans. Three minutes after the dish has come back to the boil, turn the heat off.
Add the string beans (long beans), this time already blanched, just when the flower crabs have completely turned color.

Add the string beans (long beans), this time already blanched, just when the flower crabs have completely turned color.

 

  1. Sarciadong Alimasag” is ready to serve! In my case, with heaps of freshly cooked, steaming hot Japanese pearl rice.
“Sarciadong Alimasag” (flower crab sarciado) is ready!

“Sarciadong Alimasag” (flower crab sarciado) is ready!

 

Will you just look at that?!?!?!

Will you just look at that?!?!?!

 

Good thing I made lots of Japanese pearl rice!  Just a little of the crab fat, stained on this rice...  is gastronomic heaven.

Good thing I made lots of Japanese pearl rice! Just a little of the crab fat, stained on this rice… is gastronomic heaven.

 

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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Fresh wild mushrooms with oyster sauce

29 10 2014

THERE COMES a time in a culinarian’s life when recipes he can put together on auto–pilot need to finally be committed to paper.  Or, a blog post.

One such time is when one of my dearest friends – all the way from the City of Trees – hit me up with, “Any ideas on what to do with fresh mushrooms?”

"What to do with fresh mushrooms?! "  Here is a pile of fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

“What to do with fresh mushrooms?! ” Here is a pile of fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

 

Something about the sight of a pile of fresh mushrooms always just...  gets me!

Something about the sight of a pile of fresh mushrooms always just… gets me!

 

Slice the fresh shiitake mushrooms – caps, stems and all.  Do the same for white button, Swiss brown, baby bellos, and creminis.

Slice the fresh shiitake mushrooms – caps, stems and all. Do the same for white button, Swiss brown, baby bellos, and creminis.

 

As will be mentioned in the recipe below, all – except the oyster variety – should be sliced.

As will be mentioned in the recipe below, all – except the oyster variety – should be sliced.

 

I couldn't help but take an aerial of this beautifully, randomly piled sliced fresh shiitakes.

I couldn’t help but take an aerial of this beautifully, randomly piled sliced fresh shiitakes.

This – not the mushroom cream sauce – first came to mind.

 

Bertolli® Classico “Mild Taste” Olive Oil, a thin film on the pan

Garlic, six cloves (or to taste) finely minced

A medley of fresh wild mushrooms, 500 grams

Lee Kum Kee® or Woh Hup® Oyster Sauce, two to three heaping tablespoons

 

Heat a heavy bottom skillet over low–medium flame.  I prefer to use the ones that are really wider than they are taller.  Add a thin film of the Bertolli® Classico “Mild Taste” Olive Oil or any vegetable oil.  In it, sauté finely minced garlic.  I go crazy with the garlic sometimes and it could be really strong.  So err on the side of caution.

Once the garlic has (been) cooked through – I do not recommend browning the garlic at all – add the mushrooms in one layer as much as possible, or at most two.  I usually go with a mix of “wild” mushrooms – white button, Swiss brown, shiitake, cremini, baby (porto)bellos, and rarely, I would throw in some oyster (still, the mushroom, not the mollusk).  At two vacuum–sealed packs at 250 grams each, we are talking about 500 grams of mushrooms.  But you know me, I do tend to go crazy sometimes with eyeballing stuff and I’d end up throwing in more than that – putting a huge dent on what should be for the following day’s menu.

Allow the mushrooms to get heated through without stirring.  Once the sauté comes back to a sizzle, stir the whole thing to mix everything up.

At this point, add the magic ingredient – really good oyster sauce.  It has always been Lee Kum Kee® or Woh Hup® with me.  But feel free to use any brand you prefer.  Two to three heaping tablespoons should do it.

Fresh mushrooms do not take long to cook.  So I guess this should take all of only 10 minutes from when the minced garlic hits the heated oil.

I have this with lots of steaming hot white jasmine rice or Japanese pearl rice and I’m tremendously pleased – both by how satisfying this simple meal is and how quick it took from stove to stomach.

"Once the garlic has (been) cooked through – I do not recommend browning the garlic at all – add the mushrooms in one layer as much as possible, or at most two."

“Once the garlic has (been) cooked through – I do not recommend browning the garlic at all – add the mushrooms in one layer as much as possible, or at most two.”

 

"I usually go with a mix of “wild” mushrooms – white button, Swiss brown, shiitake, cremini, baby (porto)bellos, and rarely, I would throw in some oyster (still, the mushroom, not the mollusk)."

“I usually go with a mix of “wild” mushrooms – white button, Swiss brown, shiitake, cremini, baby (porto)bellos, and rarely, I would throw in some oyster (still, the mushroom, not the mollusk).”

 

"Once the sauté comes back to a sizzle, stir the whole thing to mix everything up.  At this point, add the magic ingredient – really good oyster sauce."

“Once the sauté comes back to a sizzle, stir the whole thing to mix everything up. At this point, add the magic ingredient – really good oyster sauce.”

 

eNTeNG's Mushrooms with Oyster Sauce is ready to be served!

eNTeNG’s Mushrooms with Oyster Sauce is ready to be served!

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.