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The Theoretical Cook


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Crab Mentality and Palengke Aura

King crabs are one of the things that make life worthwhile.
This weekend we attempted to replicate one of our favorite recipe combinations: deep fried garlic crab and sinigang sa miso na maya-maya.
These frequent visits to the Cubao Farmers' Market is beginning to make me feel like I have a palengke aura that I can't shake off. The feeling intensifies especially when I start cleaning fish and the fishy smell stays in my hands no matter how many times I soap and rinse. Today, I not only cleaned fish, I even chopped real live king crabs. So I smell not only fishy, but crabby too.
Crabs are a special treat. Of course you have to buy them live. From the market all the way to the youth hostel, we patiently tried to ignore the crabs wrestling each other within the tight confines of the plastic bag. When we reached home, we tried to immobilize them by putting them in the freezer. But since the freezer door wouldn't close, everytime we opened the ref, one of the king crabs would crawl out, eliciting our horrified shrieks. Anyway, at a certain point, the crabs stopped moving, and we were able to chop them in two parts for the chosen recipe.
I don't know for sure if this is how the favorite restos cook it - and part of me doesn't really want to know how they cook it - but this is how we did it anyway:

Recipe 1
Deep Fried Garlic Crabs

2kg king crabs
tempura powder
2 cups garlic (finely chopped)
black pepper
garlic powder

1) Chop the crabs into two parts; remove the icky part.
2) Rub the crabs with the chopped garlic. Make sure you use finely chopped garlic.
3) Coat the crab with the tempura powder (mixed with some black pepper, garlic powder, and salt)
4) Deep fry for seven minutes.

1) Add chopped garlic to native coconut vinegar + soy sauce.

Recipe 2
I think this was a relative disaster, I used over 3 liters of water ---- the miso taste was practically absent because the broth was too watery. Well, this is the first time I've attempted to do this so.... Although I am writing the exact amounts of the ingredients I used earlier, I suggest reducing the amount of water to 2 L only. I also suggest adding another packet of miso. As well, if you have the time, don't use a sinigang mix. Make your own sampalok broth for sinigang. Add some siling labuyo also, to sharpen the taste of the sinigang. This version was quite bland. I noticed everyone adding patis to their sinigang.

Sinigang sa Miso na MayaMaya

1 kg Ulo ng MayaMaya (chopped)
1 packet of miso
2 pcs radish (chopped)
4 pcs tomatoes (quartered)
1 pc onion (halved)
mustasa leaves (sliced)
sinigang mix
3 L water

1) Let water boil.
2) Add the radish, tomatoes, and onion to the boiling water. Then add the mayamaya head.
3) When the fish has turned opaque, add the miso. Let simmer.
4) Add the mustasa leaves.
5) Serve!


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