Matt is the chilli mud crab master! This is great theatre – cutting up the live crabs makes everyone ooh and aah! Looks great on the table and is unbelievably moreish.
2 x 1.5kg mud crabs
2 cups cornflour
1 tsp ground white pepper
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbs finely diced ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 long red chillies, halved lengthways and sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 eschalots, diced
1/3 cup dried shrimp, soaked in hot water
1 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs prawn or chicken stock*
Lime wedges and coriander leaves, to serve
Step 1: For the crab, remove the top shell from the crabs and remove the dead man’s fingers and intestines. Cut each of the crabs into 8-10 pieces and crack the claws with the back of a large knife. On a large metal tray, sprinkle cornflour, 1 tablespoon sea salt and white pepper and roll the cut crab pieces in the seasoned flour.
Step 2: Fill a deep fryer or large saucepan with vegetable oil by one third and preheat to 190°C. In batches, deep-fry the crab pieces for 1-2 minutes until the outside is crispy. Once all the crab has been flash-fried, drain on paper towel.
Step 3: For the chilli sauce, heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and add ginger, garlic, chillies and eschalots. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the soaked dried shrimp and sugar and cook for a further 3 minutes. De-glaze the pan with Shaoxing wine and add the sesame oil and light soy sauce. Toss the cooked crab pieces through the chilli sauce, pour in stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve in a large bowl with lime wedges and coriander.
*To make prawn stock you can cover 10 prawn heads in cold water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until deeply flavoured. Strain.
Serves: 4 as a main meal, 8 as part of a groaning board