Succulent Crab fast-fried with Cambodia’s famous and distinctive Kampot Pepper. I went to market with Panna, Chef at social enterprise restaurant Jaan Bai to pick up some local crabs before he stir-fried them up for me in a matter of minutes, proving just how quick and simple this recipe is. Get your hands dirty and give it a crack!
*Makes 1 serving
1 spanner crab, cut into eighths and cleaned
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 asian shallot, peeled and sliced
4 sprigs of Kampot pepper (if you can’t get your hands on this, substitute with any fresh pepper corns or jarred pepper corns)
2 whole Thai chillies, pounded
4 long red chillies, thickly sliced
1 large bunch of Thai Basil (Picked)
1 tablespoon chili jam (recipe below)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of vegetable oil for deep frying
1 ladel of water
good pinch of salt
Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to 350 degrees (use a deep-fry thermometer). When the temperature of the oil is ready, and the surface is shimmering, add half of the picked Thai Basil. Deep fry for about 1 minute or until the leaves are transparent.
In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic cloves, asian shallot,Thai chili and a pinch of salt. Keep the paste relatively big so when you fry it doesn’t burn easily
Using some of the oil from frying the basil, add to a heated wok using a gas flame. When it begins to smoke lightly, add the the garlic mixture from the mortar. Let it sizzle, stirring often, until it’s fragrant and golden brown.
Add the crab to the wok and stir-fry, constantly stirring, scooping, and flipping the ingredients until the crab starts to colour. Add the ladel of water and the fish sauce and let cook briefly until the water starts to evaporate and be absorbed into the crab meat.
Add the sprigs of Kampot peppercorns, sliced red chilli and chili jam and continue to stir-fry.
Check the consistency of the sauce and add another splash of water if necessary.
Add the fresh Thai Basil and stir-fry well to combine.
Serve immediately, garnishing with the fried Thai Basil.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for Chilli Jam from David Thompson