Craving for crabs
Ley’s Kitchen’s specialties: Garlic crabs, J’s Cajun Seafood and garlic noodles
Craving for crabs
FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie and Karla Reyes (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2020 - 12:00am

Millie: Karla and I are crazy about crabs! Full moon or not, we love it and enjoy feasting on crabs!

One bright morning, I got a text message from a friend who was selling mud crabs from Roxas City, asking if I was interested in buying. I jumped at the opportunity right away! It would save me the trouble of going to market to buy some.

While waiting for the crabs to arrive, I attended noon Mass on TV.

Coconut milk with green chili crabs with winged beans by Margaret Tan

Karla was so excited for a crab lunch that, in less than an hour, she managed to steam the crabs, make a lemon-and-garlic butter sauce for it, and even cooked rice! By the time Mass was over, Karla was calling me to come down and eat!

Karla: The moment Mom told me that crabs were coming, I jumped out of bed excited. I was not a crab eater growing up, though my mom and grandparents loved it. I don’t know what took me this long to appreciate crabs.

As soon as the crabs arrived, my steamer was ready to go with salted boiling water. In culinary school, we were taught that the more humane thing to do is to kill the crab/ crustacean first before cooking, whether by using a knife or slowly putting them to sleep by storing them in the freezer for an hour.

I prefer to cook them live; it’s less of a hassle and less cleanup to just throw them in the pot or steamer. I placed the crabs through running water then placed them in the steamer basket, then proceeded to make my garlic-lemon butter sauce. All I did was chop garlic, add half a bar of salted butter and heat it up till the butter melted. Then I added a bit more salt and lemon juice or calamansi juice to taste and served this on the side.

Another must-try: Coco curry crabs from Ley’s Kitchen

Millie: Before the pandemic, whenever there were special occasions to celebrate or when we simply wanted to reward ourselves, we ordered our crabs takeout from China Mommy, our favorite crab supplier, who is a two-minute drive from home. We have entertained friends at home for a crab lunch or dinner and it has always been a big hit!

Our favorite is curry crabs, which we love feasting on with our bare hands! The sauce is so rich and tasty and always, we eat it with a heaping scoop of steamed hot rice.

Karla: There are hardly ever any leftover crabs, but if ever you do have leftover curry sauce, don’t throw it away! I use the leftover curry sauce to make curry shabu-shabu the next day. I heat it up in my instant pot, add a bit of water or soup stock, then throw in whatever vegetables we have available, sotanghon or any noodles we have on hand, dried shiitake mushrooms, frozen fish and squid balls.

The Plaza has these squid balls stuffed with cheese and fish cakes that I can’t seem to get enough of.

One of China Mommy’s newest crab flavors is the XO crab using their homemade XO sauce of scallops and dilis. They also have other dishes such as their fortune bags, Chinese lumpia and lo ba peng, a Taiwanese minced-pork topping, which I have yet to try.

China Mommy offers a variety of classic dishes such as sotanghon crabs, fortune bags, and Chinese lumpia.

Another favorite is Leys Kitchen. We have tried different variants of their crab trays as well. One of their signature ones is the J’s Cajun Seafood, a seafood boil with crabs, shrimps, sausages and corn. Mom and I have tried their garlic crab and garlic noodles, chorizo pasta and crab vermicelli as well.

Other crab flavors are soy garlic chili crab, Thai curry crab, black pepper crab and more.

Millie: During the last six months, because of the pandemic, our household helper has not been able to report for work, leaving Karla and myself to do all the household chores.

Karla has become such a seasoned chef and I am truly proud of her kitchen prowess, creating and recreating dishes from the heart. But there are days when she is so swamped with work that she looks me in the eye to ask for a day off. As a matter of fact, she has recently declared Sundays as her official day off from cooking and cleaning.

So just this weekend, I thought of ordering crabs and my golfer friend Margaret Tan, who loves to cook for friends and neighbors like me, suggested different ways of cooking the crabs, so I asked her to oblige.

The crabs we got were more than a kilo each, and Marge simmered it in coconut milk with green chili and chopped winged beans! Wow!

Marvs Boqueria offers a variety of seafood delivered to your doorstep.

Marge also suggests other ways of cooking the crabs, such as fried chili garlic, Singapore black pepper, steamed with garlic and leeks, and the list goes on and on.

For crab lovers like us, it is good to know there are many possibilities and one need not go to Seaside or Farmers Market to buy crabs. In fact, we found a supplier from Arranke market that can deliver, named Marvs Boqueria, offering not only crabs but also a variety of other fish, shrimp, octopus, prawns, etc.

Another is our crab and prawn suki Linda Victor, who is just a text away. Easy ways to satisfy your cravings for crab!

* * *

For orders and inquiries, call China Mommy at 0917-514-8540 or visit the website at www.chinamommy.ph, Ley’s Kitchen at 0917-848-6889 or @leys_kitchen on Instagram and Marvs Boqueria at 0917-851-2732 or @marvsboqueria.ph on Instagram.

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