Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 17, 2017

© John James Sherlock Studio

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Crab and coconut milk soup

From Whistler Blackcomb in Whistler, BC

Chef James Walt of the Araxi Restaurant and Bar likes subtle, ethnic flavours like the ones he’s infused in this excellent soup; here the curry sets off, but doesn’t overwhelm, the flavour of the crab. The restaurant sometimes serves a crab spring roll to dip in the soup.

The recipe works with lobster as well: cook the lobster for 8 minutes in the stock and make the rest of the dish the same way you would with the crab. And, Chef Walt gives this tip: chilling the live shellfish in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before makes it easier to handle.


10 c. (2.5 L) fish or chicken stock
2 lbs. (1 kg) live Dungeness crabs
2 tbsp. (30 ml) grape-seed oil
2 medium onions, minced
½-in. (1.25-cm) piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 red jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) mild curry powder
1 tbsp. (15 ml) ground turmeric
2½ c. (625 ml) coconut milk
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh cilantro leaves or chives, chopped


In a large pot fitted with a lid, bring the stock to a boil. Add the crab, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the crab to a large bowl, placing it shell side down. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, discard the solids and set aside.

Heat the grape-seed oil in a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat. Add the onions, ginger and jalapeño peppers, and sauté until very soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and turmeric, and cook for 3 minutes more to release the flavours.

Add the strained stock and coconut milk. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and set aside.

To clean the crab, hold the base with one hand and lift off the shell with the other. Discard the shell. With a spoon, gently scrape away and discard the gills on both sides (the off-white bits between the legs), the intestine and other innards that run down the back and fill the cavity. Rinse the crab under cold water. Break the body in half and twist off the legs. Using a nutcracker or mallet, crack the legs. Remove the meat with a fork or a pick, then crack the body sections and remove the meat from those, as well.

Heat the soup over medium heat, then add the crabmeat. Serves 10 to 12.

Serving suggestion: Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with cilantro or chives. Natural wine pairings are an Alsatian blend like JoieFarm’s Noble Blend or Mosel Riesling.

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