All of the stocks that are on my site will feature two soups. One with cream, and one without. My fish stock made a super delicious chowder in my last post and now we’ve gone around the world, in my magical little stock pot, to Thailand. Just because you have fish stock doesn’t mean you’re limited to fish. The ocean is your playground. So play away and experiment. What else swims with the fishes? Shrimp and crab! This soup is chock full of fresh crab meat with a few shrimp galavanting around for good measure.
Thai Cuisine makes my little coconut of a heart go buh-bumpity bump. The balance of salty and sweet and hot and sour makes my taste buds zing-uh-zang. You really can’t ask for more in a dish. Background melodies of ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves season the fish stock. Umami goodness made possible by fish sauce encases the tongue. In the forefront you’ve got incredibly fresh vegetables, simply prepared. A scattering of fresh herbs like cilantro (or you will often find thai basil or mint leaves). Sometimes the broth, like mine below, is made velvety smooth with the addition of sumptuous coconut milk. Sometimes chopped peanuts. Sometimes not. My mouth is watering just typing this. Nuff of that, let’s talk crab.
My dad SWEARS he can tell the difference between fresh crab and pasteurized, and I SWEAR..he’s nuts (haha..just kidding dad;) ). I mean, if you’re making a dish where the crab is the highlight you may notice some textural differences in the meat, but if the crab has been processed correctly, there should be no noticeable difference between the two. The pasteurization process, simply put is: after the crabs have been harvested, picked and cooked, they are sealed in cans and heated (to about 185°) to kill off any pathogens in/on the cans. This process also enables the meat to be kept in the fridge (unopened) for up to six months versus the much shorter shelf life of unpasteurized. Pasteurized only last 3 to 4 days though once it has been opened, like fresh crab. There is no water added to the crab meat itself during the pasteurization process, which would cause a degradation of the meat. But still..there’s my dad. “I want FRESH crab meat! Pasteurized is craaaaap!”
Since Maryland crabs are in season that’s what I was hoping to find, but no such luck here in the ol’ GA. I couldn’t even find local, which is really disappointing since I…LIVE ON THE COAST! Anywhooz, so I got the UNpasteurized crab (as requested..all the way from V-E-N-E-Z-U-E-L-A (Reeeeaaalllly:/) and my Georgia fresh shrimp and the rest is..well, written down below:) Enjoy! Oh, little side note! I got all of my ingredients, besides the seafood, from an Asian market. The market owner here actually grows a lot of the herbs he sells and packages them in huge bags for a fraction of what you pay at the grocery store.
Spicy Don’t Think Twicey Crab n’ Shrimp Noodle Bowl:
4 cups Fish Stock
3 slices ginger (about 1/8″slices)
4 kaffir lime leaves/divided (2 whole, 2 shredded)
1 bunch cilantro
3 cloves gaaalic, smashed
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
1 small onion, diced small
1 can coconut milk
1/3 cup chopped tomato
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons Thai Green Curry
1/2 lime; juiced
1/2 lb. Shrimp; shelled and deveined
1 lb. lump crab meat (unpasteurized or not??)
3 baby bok choy, thinly sliced crosswise, divided into leaves and stems
First things first. Take those lemongrass sticks outside and beat them on something (Or you could slap them on your counter a time or two-whatever makes you feel better). Doing this loosens the fibers and releases dem flavas. Cut off the root end as well as the hard ends of green. Cut it length wise and chop it up. In large pot combine stock with ginger, 2 lime leaves, lemongrass, and the stem ends of your cilantro. Chop the cilantro leaves and reserve for use later. Cook on a light simmer for 20 minutes, strain out solids and hold to the side. Wipe down pot and add oil and cook your diced onion on moderate heat until translucent. Add in the strained stock as well as the coconut milk, fish sauce and shredded kaffir lime leaves. Cook for 10 minutes. Add in 2 Tablespoons of green curry and stir until dissolved. Stir in fresh lime juice and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss in the crab meat and bok choy stems. Cook for 4 minutes. Add in shrimp, chopped tomato, and boy choy leaves and cook 4 minutes longer. Stir in reserved cilantro and taste for seasoning.
Wham bam thank you ma’am!
Your tastebuds will thank you for this slice of thai. If you like a little more heat (which believe me, this thang was spicy spicy nicey for me) you can either add in more green curry which is full of green spicy chiles or you can throw in a diced red chile for some extra EXTRA.
What’s your favorite Thai dish? What makes it your favorite? I’d say this one is up there on my list now of top dishes. I also always love a good Pad Thai from a little restaurant here locally called The Noodle Bowl.