Port Douglas chef Andy Gray will have you thinking you’re in Singapore with this chilli mud crab recipe. It’s easier than it looks.
1 live mud crab
1 tsp vegetable oil
Flour, to dust
1-2 tbs chilli, chopped
2 tbs garlic, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
150ml white wine
300ml fish stock
300ml crushed tomato
Salt and pepper
Broccolini with pistachio, oil and lime
2 bunches broccolini
20ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
50g pistachio nuts, chopped
2 chillis, julienned
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
¼ bunch parsley
- To start off, put the crab in the freezer for around 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will make the crab go to sleep before preparation and is the best way to deal with a live crab.
- Remove from the freezer and insert a large knife into the base of the crab from the rear through to the head. This will ensure the crab is dead.
- Lift the bottom flap (male only) and insert your thumb under the crab shell. Gently lift until the top cap comes away from the body. Keep this intact for presentation at the end.
- You will then see the gills on the body. Remove these with your fingers and put into the rubbish.
- Using your large knife again cut the crab down the middle to get two halves. From there cut each half into a quarter, giving you front and back leg sections. Wash the crab with cold water. With the back of the knife lightly crack the large claws to help cooking time.
- In a large pan heat up some vegetable oil. Dip the leg pieces into the flour to dust – this helps them hold together whilst cooking.
- Start off with the large claws first in the hot pan. They will go bright orange quickly. Then add the remaining crab sections dusted with flour. Lastly, add the crab top shell to get a vibrant orange on this too.
- Add your chopped chilli, garlic and sliced shallots. Fry this for a minute or two, taking care not to burn the garlic. Deglaze with the wine by adding it to the pan – be careful as you will see some flames.
- Add the fish stock and reduce this liquid by a third, then add the tomato. Cover the crab and simmer for about 6 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn the heat down to a simmer for 7 minutes. Move the crab around with tongs to ensure even cooking. You should be able to see that the crab meat inside the large claw has turned white. Your crab will be ready to serve after approximately 15 minutes of cooking.
- To make the broccolini side dish, trim the broccolini and remove any excess leaves. Boil a pot of water with some added salt. Once boiling, add the broccolini and simmer for around 2 minutes. Remove from the water and drain, then add to a clean warmed pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and lime juice. Sprinkle the pistachios on top.
- To serve, arrange the crab as if it is going to be whole again. Start with the back legs, front legs and claws. Give the crab some height. Now pour the sauce over the crab before adding the top shell.
- Garnish the crab with your chilli, spring onions and freshly picked parsley.
Andy Gray’s winter warmer recipe, Port Douglas
About Andy Gray
“If you want to cook quality, you’ve got to use quality ingredients,” advises Port Douglas chef Andy Gray.
And to find that top-notch benchmark, Andy’s drawn inspiration from his local area.
“There’s two things that are very North Queensland when it comes to seafood – barramundi and Queensland mud crab.” He’s created a chilli mud crab recipe that’s not on the menu at his restaurant Bel Cibo, but has been specially prepared for Origin LPG users to create on their gas stovetop.
“Sometimes people can be a little bit daunted by cooking crab, but once you’ve cooked your first one, you’ll never go back,” smiles Andy.
From start to finish, the cooking process is around 15 minutes. “People are eating with their eyes first, so build it up tall on the plate,” says Andy. “And add some freshly picked herbs to introduce some colour when you’re bringing it to the table.”