Recipe courtesy of Vivian Chan for Food Network Kitchen

Ginger Scallion Dungeness Crab Stir Fry

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Ginger scallion crab is a classic Cantonese dish that I’ve enjoyed my entire life. Although many restaurants have their own version, nothing has ever come close to the one my dad makes. Like an artist, he spent years perfecting his technique to find the delicate balance between the sweetness of Dungeness crab, kick from fresh ginger coins and exact consistency of the slurry that coats the crab as it simmers for the final minutes. I promise it’s even better than a restaurant! When I was younger, I would help smash the garlic cloves and whisk the sauce together. As I got older, I moved on to prepping the aromatics and even cleaning the crab. But the day I learned to cook it by myself for my dad is one I’ll cherish forever. He took one bite and I knew it was a success. I hope when you make this recipe in your home, you can taste the work we’ve both put into this family favorite meal.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Remove the top shells from the crabs. Halve each crab body and cut each half into 2 pieces. Using a meat mallet or the back of a chef’s knife, gently smash the claws to break up the shell slightly. Transferred the crab body pieces to a colander set over a large bowl. Place the top shells and claws on a plate.
  2. Separate the scallion whites and greens. Split the scallion whites lengthwise, cut into 2-inch pieces and place in a small bowl. Cut the remaining scallion greens into 2-inch pieces and place in another small bowl.
  3. Make the sauce. Whisk the oyster sauce, sugar, white pepper and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.
  4. Shake off the excess liquid from the crab pieces in the colander over the sink. Reserve the large bowl. Transfer half of the crab pieces to a large plate and set aside.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cornstarch over the crab pieces in the colander and toss until coated completely. Place the colander over the reserved large bowl. Wait to coat the remaining crab until the first batch is frying to prevent the cornstarch from becoming too thick.
  6. Fill a wok or high-sided large skillet a little less than halfway (about 3 inches) with canola oil and heat over high until shimmering. Carefully add the coated crab to the oil. Fry until the crab legs begin to turn orange and the cornstarch coating is translucent, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the crab pieces on the plate to the colander. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, toss to coat and set aside. Wash your hands, then use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the fried crab pieces to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining crab.
  7. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of oil from the wok and reduce the heat to medium high. Add the garlic, ginger and scallion whites. Gently stir-fry until the garlic and ginger are golden brown and the scallion whites soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the claws and all of the crab pieces and toss with a wooden spoon or metal spoon. Add the Shaoxing wine and cook until reduced slightly, about 15 seconds. Add the oyster sauce mixture, scallion greens and 1/2 cup water. Toss again until well combined. Place the reserved crab top shells, hard side-up, on top in the wok and cover. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the crab is vibrant orange and fully cooked through, about 8 minutes (see Cook’s Note).
  8. Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch with 1 1/2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Remove the lid and drizzle the slurry on the crab. Toss again, increase the heat and bring to a full boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a platter and serve warm with white rice.

Cook’s Note

The crabs can be cleaned by your fish monger or the seafood department of a supermarket. If using frozen crab, thaw over a colander, drain well and pat dry before coating in cornstarch.  If Dungeness crab isn’t available, use 8 medium cleaned blue crabs and reduce the cooking time by 3 to 4 minutes. The blue crab will be a brick red when fully cooked through. 

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