Ingredient Name: Fresh Crab
Traditional Chinese Name: 蟹 (xiè)
What is this?
- The crab is a crustacean with a short tail and typically two large claws and multiple legs
- Crabs often have hard shells, but there are species of soft-shelled crabs
- The most edible types of crabs include: flower crabs, snow crabs , blue crabs, edible or brown crabs , Dungeness crab, and mud crabs
- Crabs primarily come from the ocean, but there are crabs that are extracted from fresh water (most popular in Asia is the Shanghainese Hairy Crabs available around Oct – Nov of every year)
- Crabs are used in various dishes across Chinese dishes such as stir-fried, with noodles, steamed, in congee, or in soup.
How do I prepare it?
- The Chinese way is to peel off the shell (as quickly as possible) and then chop the crab down the middle in half ensuring it’s completely dead
- Also remove the gills and brain (would recommend you google where these parts are) and then quarter them for congee. Don’t throw anything else – especially the jiggly, yellow, green, or orange “cream” – this is the best part and comes out into whatever dish you are making
- You can rinse in warm running water if you’d like
- Another way to prepare crab is to simply steam them in boiling water – or drop them in a pot of boiling water. This is if you want to eat the crabs as is.
Where can I buy this?
- In Asia, especially in Hong Kong, the best and freshest crabs come from the wet marts (or supermarkets)
- Be sure to buy the crabs that are moving and whole
- If they are tied up, press right between their eyes and there should be movement, indicating they are still alive
- You can keep them alive in water at home until you’re ready to cook them (or in the fridge)
What is the cost?
- This really depends on the breed, size, location, and season
- When I bought mine around Autumn, with a nice fresh water crab, they cost $100 HKD each (and not very large)
- Crab meat is extremely low in fat and high in protein
- Crabs are rich in chromium, which helps insulin to metabolize sugar, and thereby lowers the blood glucose levels in the body
- Crabs have a healthy dose of antioxidants, which help help kill free radicals in the body (free radicals are what make you age)
- Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids
- The cream of the crab is extremely high in cholesterol and should be avoided by those who need to watch their intake
- Don’t overcook the crab meat, this will destroy a lot of the vitamins and minerals contained within the meat
- Be careful of the claws and potentially sharp points in the legs and head
- When serving children, be sure to fully check for any sharp parts of the crab, especially if you’re making soup or congee, the parts of the crab will dissintegrate