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I made crab dip before, but I wasn’t quite happy with the taste– I was trying to replicate the baked crab dip at Horatio’s (A restaurant in San Leandro that has famous crab dip) but it tasted too tangy to me. Well, crab season is here again so I’m fine tuning the recipe. It’s much closer to Horatio’s and way better than my previous versions. This will be on my winter party food list when crab is in season. Yes, a keeper 🙂

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip (makes 1 appertizer serving)

Ingredients:

1 cooked Dungeness crab– pick out the meat
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic– chopped
1/2 cup onion– thinly sliced
2 stalks green onion– chopped
3/4 cup freshly shredded asiago cheese
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra

1 small container sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise

Seasoning to taste:
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp spicy mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan, sauté garlic and onion for a few minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Add all ingredients and sautéed onion in a mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon to combine. Pour mixture into a 9″ pie dish. Smooth the surface and sprinkle extra mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, until it’s bubbly and the top crust is golden brown. Serve hot with sliced bread or crackers.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab: Dungeness crab meat taste better than canned crab meat. Picking the meat out takes some time but can be done 1-2 days ahead and kept chilled in fridge. For adventurous eaters, creamy yellowish crab brain inside the body shell (scoop out with a spoon and put in a separate container and keep chilled) can also be added for more flavor. When sautéing onion, add this creamy goodness to sauce pan and cook until the oil starts separating, stirring at all times. This will take a few minutes.
  • Mozzarella cheese: add more mozzarella cheese if you want more cheese stringy look, but not too much as it will change the texture of the dip.
  • Flavor: sugar is added to help bring out the sweetness of the crab meat, so it has a sweet taste along with savory. Do not add too much salt or the flavor will change.
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I got some precooked Jonah crab claws at Safeway when it was on sale. Instead of dipping the crab meat in clarified butter or cooking it Malaysian buttery curry style, I decide to try something new~~ Singapore black pepper style! I did a very last minute recipe search online and used this recipefor reference.

OMG it was so good! For the mount of the crab claws I used, I think I put a bit too much peppercorns(on top of 4 red hot peppers in it)… It was VERY peppery and spicy, and yet I just couldn’t help licking the sauce on the shells, on my fingers (yes, it requires all ten fingers!). Now I have another delicious crab recipe on file :-). Next time I will try the recipe with fresh Dungeness crabs instead of pre cooked crab claws; I’m sure the flavor will get even better.

Black Pepper Crabs 黑椒炒蟹

Black Pepper Crabs 黑椒炒蟹

Black Pepper Crabs Recipe (adapted from here, serves 4 people)

Ingredients:
3 lbs precooked Jonah crab claws– see note below
4 slices fresh ginger– cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic– minced
4 small red hot pepper– chopped
6-8 fresh curry leaves
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter

Spices mix (combined together and grind fine, but not super fine):
1 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp white peppercorns
1/4 tsp coriander seeds

Sauce mix (mix well to dissolve sugar, set aside):
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp ketchap manis– see note below
4 tbsp hot water

Method:

  1. Make a few cracks on each claws if they are not cracked previously. Pat dry with a paper towel. If you prepare ahead of time, place cracked claws in bowl/container lined with paper towel. Cover and chill in the fridge. Bring to room temperature when you are ready to cook.
  2. Heat up a wok on high heat. Add oil, butter, ginger, garlic, red hot pepper and curry leaves. Fry until butter melts and the flavor comes out. Add crab claws and stir fry for a minute.
  3. Add in ground spices, stir to distribute evenly. Cook for another minute or until crab claws are heated through.
  4. Add in sauce mix, stir a few more times. Add a few more tbsp of hot water if you prefer more sauce. Dish out. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab claws: I used precooked crab claws this time because that was what I had at that time. However, I don’t suggest using frozen precooked crabs/crab claws as they usually taste nothing like crab– salty, tasteless, rubbery etc. I got lucky is time as my frozen precooked Jonah crab claws still tasted like crab. Fresh live crabs are the BEST for this recipe because of its fresh seafood flavor. If fresh crabs are used in this recipe, cut crabs into chunks, then follow the steps and cook crabs until it is just cooked through. Then add in sauce mix, stir for a few times before dishing out.
  • Ketchap manis: This can be found in Asian grocery stores, in South East Asia food section. It is a thick morsel sauce, black in color and tastes sweet (‘ketchap manis’ means sweet sauce in Malay/Indonesian)

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Crab season is here again. If you are tired of same old steam/boil crab, or the deep fry, saute version, try this buttery crab– it is finger licking good especially the sauce! This recipe requires very few ingredients, one of the must have is curry leaves. If you can get curry leaves I strongly recommend you to give this recipe a try.

Creamy Buttery Crab

Creamy Buttery Crab

Creamy Buttery Crab Recipe (original recipe from Rasa Malaysia— ingredients written in black is original version, with my modification written in blue)

Ingredients:

2 lbs. mud crab (dungeness crab or stone crab is a great substitute)— I use 2 Dungeness crabs, about 2 lb each
1 1/2 cup evaporated milk— I use 1 small can
1 stick butter— will try to cut down to 3/4 stick next time
1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 stalks curry leaves (you can get the curry leaves at Indian grocery stores)
5 bird’s eye chilies (lightly pounded)
2 cloves garlic– finely chopped (I add garlic for more flavor)
10 Chinese buns (mantou/馒头)— I served it with steam rice instead of buns

Method:

  1. Clean the crab and cut into pieces. Use paper towels to pat dry the crab. If serving with buns, deep-frying the Chinese buns or mantou to golden brown and set aside. Lay them over paper towels to soak up excess oil. Mix the corn starch with water and set aside.
  2. Heat up a wok to medium heat. Melt the butter in the wok before adding the curry leaves, garlic and bird’s eyes chilies. As soon as you smell the aroma from the curry leaves and bird’s eye chilies, add in the crab and stir continuously until the crab starts to turn color.
  3. Add the evaporated milk and cover the wok and turn the heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes, add salt and sugar to taste, then add in corn starch to thicken the creamy butter sauce. Dish out and serve immediately with buns or steam rice.

Note: I tried the recipe using jumbo prawns/tiger prawns instead of crabs, the result is good too but lack of the fresh seafood sweetness as with crabs.

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