Monday, July 16, 2018

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

I love the idea of stuffing squash flowers with a filling--either meat, seafood, vegetables or a combination. It is difficult to find these delicate flowers unless you grow your own. These zucchini flowers came from my parents' garden. Once harvested the flowers should be used immediately since they tend to wilt or bruise rapidly. I had to work (in the clinic) so I stored them in a container, lined with paper towels to prevent them from touching each other, and kept them in the refrigerator for 2 days. Luckily for me they appeared in good condition after several days. These Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are filled with scallops, shrimp and roe from 10 green crabs. You can eat them as they are with your favorite sauce. I prefer eating them on a bed of fresh home-grown garden herbs and vegetables and a drizzle of the Seasoned Black Bean Sauce (Nuoc Tuong). The greens came from my parents' garden. I harvested the crabs using my own modified pyramid trap.

fried stuffed zucchini flowers with home-grown garden herbs
and seasoned black bean sauce (nuoc tuong)
Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Ingredients:

3 oz sea scallops
3 oz shrimp
Uncooked roe from 10 green crabs, strained and discarded the liquid
2 Tbsp chopped Chinese chives
2 tsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp porcini mushroom powder
A large pinch of ground black or white pepper
10 fresh zucchini flowers
1 large egg, whisked
1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour)
A pinch of salt
Oil for deep frying

Method:

For the Filling: In a food processor, add scallops, shrimp, roe, chives, tapioca flour, fish sauce, mushroom powder and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.

Whisk an egg in a bowl and set aside. Sift or mix the corn flour and salt onto a plate. Stuff each flower with the filling and set aside.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a pot or a deep fryer. Once the oil heats up to about 350-375 F dip one of the stuffed flowers (dip only 1 at a time to prevent clumping up with too much flour) into the whisked egg, shake gently to remove any excess egg. Next dip it to the seasoned corn flour and gently shake off excess flour and gently drop it in the hot oil. Fry 1-2 stuffed flowers at a time (avoid overcrowding the pot or fryer as this will decrease the oil temperature). Fry for about 3-4 minutes (turn the stuffed flowers a few times) or until the flowers are golden brown. Remove from the pot or fryer and place them on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve hot.

filling and flowers--ready to be stuffed
stuffed flowers, whisked egg, seasoned flour
coat the stuffed flower in the whisked egg, shake off excess egg
coat the stuffed flower in seasoned corn flour, shake off excess flour
ready to fry
fry 1-2 stuffed flowers at one time
fried stuffed flowers on paper towels to remove excess oil
this is a re-fried stuffed flower
a cross section of the fried stuffed flower
Helpful Hints:

*Retain about 1/2 to 1-inch of the flower stem so that you can hold onto it while dipping it in the egg and flour.
*The scallops and shrimp were frozen in my freezer and I add them to the food processor when they were partially thawed. They do not have to be completely thawed to use. 
*If you do not have a thermometer then use a little stuffing to test whether the oil is ready to fry. If the stuffing sizzles quickly then the oil is ready. 
*You may re-fry the stuffed flowers for about 30-40 seconds in hot oil if needed to refresh (heat and crisp) them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Open-Face Dumplings (Siu Mai)

This special Open-Face Dumplings or Siu Mai dish is made in loving memory of my dear late grandmother who passed away at age 98 on January 31, 2018. She was an amazing woman, petite but very energetic and strong mentally and physically--still working after age 97! A few days before I left Vietnam I was weighing my luggage for the plane. She was interested in knowing her weight and as quickly as she said it she was sitting on the scale with both feet up, and asking me to read the number! Luckily I had my camera because who would believe me when I tell them this story?

My mother and I last made these dumplings for my grandmother on one of our visits to Vietnam--it would be the last time that I saw her in person. The pre-made dumpling dough or dumpling skin was not available for purchase so we made our skin from scratch. We also did not have a pasta maker so we rolled the skin using a rolling pin. A pasta maker can make the thin skin quickly and without much effort. Nowadays if you live in the US you can easily purchase the skin at your local market. 


my 97 year old grandmother
with the siu mai ready to be cooked
(January 2017, Vietnam)
my grandmother--weighed 27.5 kilograms!
(Vietnam, 2015)
For this particular recipe I add a few extra ingredients which were not available when we made these for my grandmother--wild harvested local scallops, green crab roe and the porcini mushroom powder. The roe is delicious but also makes these dumplings look attractive. If you prefer less roe then use 1 ounce and about 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce. I want to thank Jamie Bassett, owner of Green Crab Nation (volume supplier of green crab) for the green crab roe. You may omit the porcini mushroom powder if it is not available or use another type of dried mushroom such as shiitake.

Recently my husband and I took a short trip to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire for an impressive view of the works of an American sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In Claremont we stopped for a quick bite and I purchased the porcini mushroom powder along with a few other small spice bags from Claremont Spice & Dry Goods. Owners David and Ingrid Lucier run this store and they are unique in selling small quantity, high quality spices at a very reasonable price. David tells us that his entire spice inventory has a shelf life of 3 months. Sorry, no mail order! 

place approximately 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the skin,
press the side of the top part of the skin inward to make pleats
(photo courtesy of my husband, Paul Huibers)
gently drop the dumpling on the working surface a few times
to let the dumpling sit with a sturdy base
(photo courtesy of my husband, Paul Huibers)
garnish the dumpling with the toppings
(photo courtesy of my husband, Paul Huibers)
cooked open-face dumplings (siu mai)
Open-Face Dumplings (Siu Mai)--makes about 22 dumplings

Ingredients:

1 Wonton and Siu Mai Dumpling Skins (see recipe below)
1 Siu Mai Filling (see recipe below)
1 Seasoned Cooked Green Crab Caviar (see recipe below)

Method:

Fill the middle of a skin with approximately 1 tablespoon of the filling. Press the side of the top part of the skin inward to make pleats. Gently drop the dumpling on your working surface a few times to let the dumpling sits with a sturdy base. Repeat until all of your dumplings are done. Garnish with the toppings. Steam 8-10 minutes preferably in a bamboo steamer. Be sure to line the bottom of your steamer with either parchment paper, banana leaf, or napa cabbage leaves. I cut a piece of parchment paper and made small holes to allow the steam to flow through during cooking.

May dip these dumplings in soy sauce with or without additional chili pepper, hot mustard, chili oil or your own special dipping. I prefer Maggi brand Seasoning (sauce) made in Germany for the flavor and Chiu Chow Chili Oil. These may be purchase at an Asian market.

mixed siu mai filling--ready to mince or puree
pureed siu mai filling--ready to be used
Siu Mai Filling (makes about 13 oz)

Ingredients:

4 oz ground pork
4 oz shrimp, roughly chopped
4 oz sea scallop, roughly diced
2 Tbsp shallot, minced
1/2 tsp grated garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 tsp chopped scallion
1/2 tsp porcini mushroom powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 roasted white peppercorns, crushed into powder (about 1/8 tsp ground or crushed)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 large egg white, whisked
1 tsp cornstarch

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients well. Use a food processor to puree a few times to blend everything together. If you do not have a food process you can use a large knife or cleaver to hand chop everything to blend. Cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

dumpling dough
 start cutting to size
I try to prevent waste!
twenty eight 3-inch round skins

Wonton and Siu Mai Dumpling Skin (8 oz skin, makes about twenty-four to twenty-eight 3-inch round skins)

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 large egg
2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp hot water
Cornstarch (to prevent the skin from sticking to each other)

Method:

Whisk or sift all-purpose flour, salt and turmeric powder. Add egg and incorporate it into the flour. Slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time to bind everything together. The dough should not be too sticky or too dry. Knead for about 5 minutes, wrap it in plastic or cover with a damp towel and let it rest for about an hour. May keep sealed up in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to use let it rest at room temperature and knead for about 5 minutes.

Hand Roll:
Divide the dough into 4 (each piece should be about 2 ounces). Roll each piece into a log. Cut each log into 6-7 pieces. Flatten a piece with your palm and roll the edges using a rolling pin. Use a drinking glass or a round dough cutter to cut out the skin. Dust each side of the skin with cornstarch to prevent them from sticking to each other. Keep the skin cover. If the dough gets too dry add a little egg yolk or water to moisten it.

Pasta Maker:
Pass the dough through the pasta maker at the largest setting 2 times, change to a medium setting and pass it 2 times, change to the thinnest setting that you like and pass it 2 times. Cut and dust with cornstarch to prevent the skin from sticking to one another. Keep the skin cover.

cooked green crab caviar
seasoned cooked green crab caviar
Seasoned Cooked Green Crab Caviar (toppings)

Ingredients:

1 tsp vegetable oil (or any types you prefer)
1/2 tsp shallot, minced
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp grated garlic
2 oz cooked green crab roe
1/2 tsp fish sauce

Method:

Saute shallot, ginger, garlic in hot oil for about 30 seconds. Avoid burning the garlic. Add crab roe and saute about 30 seconds. Season with fish sauce, stir and turn off heat.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Simple Green Crab Stock II

This week I trapped 101 green crabs in 2 hours using my modified pyramid trap! I cleaned the crabs as usual and saved the body and roe for another meal. From these many crabs I had quite a lot of legs and claws! I crushed them with a mortar and pestle, added water and ginger slices and simmered everything for 30 minutes to make the broth. If you do not have a mortar and pestle you can place the legs and claws inside a plastic bag and use a hammer to crush them. 


crush the crab legs and claws with a mortar and pestle

Simple Green Crab Stock II (makes about 5 cups)

Ingredients:

Legs and claws from 100 green crabs
3 slices of ginger, crushed
6 C water

Method:

Gently crush the prepared legs and claws. In a large pot add the crushed parts, ginger, and enough water to submerge the contents. Keep the pot uncover or partially uncover. Turn heat to high. Once the liquid comes to a boil decrease heat to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Watch your pot and turn the heat down if needed so that the liquid will not boil over. Skim off and discard the impurities (the foam) that float to the top. Use this stock right away or once cooled pour it in a sealed container and keep refrigerated for up to 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. This stock is not seasoned so when you are ready to use you can adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Seafood Stew

This Seafood Stew is inspired by the fisherman's stew known as cioppino. Every time I cook anything I try to improve on it, this time it is no different. I have made this type of stew a number of times over the years. Each time I tweak it by adding something different whether it is in the broth, the variety of seafood or both. The contents of this stew mainly depend on what is available in my kitchen, what is fresh at my local market's seafood counter and what my local fishermen are pulling up. This time I am adding my Simple Green Crab Stock and a few local catches--lobsters, Jonah crabs, squid and scallops. The stock was previously frozen so I refrigerated overnight to thaw. I use Jonah crab meat that my mother hand-picked and I kept frozen. If you are not as fortunate as I am then you may pick your own crab meat, purchase a container from your grocery or omit it altogether. I think the crab meat adds extra sweetness to the stew.

For this recipe I saute the sausages and seafood with oil, garlic, shallots, chili flakes and thyme and return them to the stew at the end, as my mother had suggested for more flavors and aroma. I saute the items that will take the longest to cook first. If you prefer not to use wine then use 1 1/2 cups of stock. If you drink white wine and not red then use that. Generally I avoid undrinkable wine or cooking wine. It is unnecessary to peel and deseed the tomatoes, the peel is a good source for fibers in your diet. If you prefer more heat add more chili peppers. I find that the lobster body (head) has a fair amount of meat and sometimes tasty roe so don't discard it without picking through it. When we were younger my parents purchased these because they were more affordable. They would eat the bodies and let us kids eat the meaty tails. 

This stew serves about 2-3 people but do add more seafood to serve more people. My little brother, his wife and 2 kids stopped in for a short visit and by adding an additional lobster meat and 2 more sausages I was able to feed his entire family with steamed rice. His children both younger than 10 are some of my worst food critics ever! His daughter rates this stew a surprising 10 with 10 being the best and 0 as the worst. His son gives it an 8. Both of them had seconds which speaks volumes! My brother comments, "the seafood is very tender", which is a good reason not to overcook the seafood.

You may check out My Maine Seafood Stew from thanhskitchen.com for a similar version of the stew. For tutorials on How to Clean Squid and How to Cut the Scallop Muscle Out of the Shell.

seafood stew
Seafood Stew

Ingredients:

5 plum (Roma) tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeds removed, diced
About 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup Simple Green Crab Stock
2-3 Tbsp oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 large shallot, minced
1-2 tsp dried chili flakes
About 6 fresh sprigs of thyme
2 sausages (use your favorite type), cut into bite size
About 10 oz swordfish (use any type of firm fish), skin removed, cut into 1-inch cubed, washed, dabbed with paper towel to dry
1 cooked lobster (about 1 1/2 lbs) meat, cut into bite size
8 shrimp, shells removed, tails intact, deveined, washed, dabbed with paper towel to dry
8 sea scallops, tough catch muscles on the side removed, washed, dabbed with paper towel to dry
About 8 oz squid (use bodies and tentacles--cut bodies either into rings and/or scored and cut into bite size)
About 4 oz of crab meat, shells and cartilage picked out and discarded
1/2 cup red wine (use any good drinking wine)
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp fish sauce
A large pinch of sugar

Method:

Peel the tomatoes by making a little cross with a sharp knife on the non-stem sides and drop them in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove from the water when you see a small split on the side and peel off the skin, discard the skin. Cut in half, core and remove the seeds, discard the core and seeds. Dice all of the tomatoes. In a blender puree half of them with the parsley and a little broth, set aside.

Gently boil the lobster in a little water for about 8-10 minutes, covered. Watch the stove so it will not boil over. Turn off heat after the lobster is just cooked. Once the lobster is cooled to handle remove the head (or lobster body) from the tail and reserve any liquid to put in the stew. Remove and discard the intestines and cut the meat into bite size and split the body in half and reserve for garnish if interested.

In a large pan or pot saute garlic, shallot, chilies, and thyme until the onion is soft. Add sausages and swordfish, saute about 2 minutes. Add shrimp, scallops, and squid and saute about a minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour the pureed contents, remaining broth, wine and the rest of diced tomatoes into the pan or pot. Let is gently simmer for about 15 minutes until the wine has cooked off and the broth has reduced a little. Add the fried sausages, swordfish to the pan or pot. Cook until the seafood and sausages are cooked through. For the last 5 minutes add the rest of the seafood, season with fish sauce and sugar.

Serve hot with fresh ground pepper and crusty bread if interested.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Spider Rolls

I feel as though I am on a roll with cooking and eating green crabs! 😀 Yesterday after working in the clinic I went to the shore and I harvested a number of tiny crabs, luckily along with 3 soft-shell green crabs. A few days prior I was given some that had molted in Dr. Bradt's lab. In my life I have never imagined that I would one day cook and eat lab specimens...but secretly I think I have a pretty sweet deal!

Many of you may have eaten spider rolls at Japanese restaurants. Generally they are made from battered fried soft-shell Chesapeake blue crabs, spicy mayo, avocado, cucumber, and radish sprouts or some kind of greens.  

I have never made a spider roll before. My initial roll looked quite pathetic but thankfully I improved a little after a few rolls. Just like anything else it takes practice and time. Here are a few tips that I learned from making these; use chopsticks to fluff and hand fan to cool the rice (the Japanese way is to use a rice paddle to cut through the rice), and wet your palms and fingers before handling the rice. The more rice you use on the nori the fatter your roll will be. Try to press the rice down onto the nori (seaweed) with your fingers, it does not matter which side of the nori you use as it will be an inside out roll, and use a plastic sheet to wrap your bamboo mat securely.

spider rolls (2nd attempt)
spider rolls

Spider Rolls

Ingredients:

Bamboo mat with plastic wrap
3-4 nori whole sheets, cut in half to yield 6-8 half sheets
1 recipe of Sushi Rice (see recipe below)
1 recipe of Spicy Mayo Sauce (see recipe below)
2 mini cucumbers, washed, cut each into 4 length-wise
1 ripe avocado, cut in half, removed seed
A handful of fresh sea asparagus, blanched for about 10 seconds in boiling water
18-20 Battered Fried Soft-Shell Green Crabs (see recipe below)

Method:

Wrap the bamboo mat securely with a plastic sheet and place it on your work surface. Place a half sheet of nori down on the bamboo mat. Wet your fingers and palms with water. Add a portion of your rice to cover all of the nori sheet, press the rice down firmly with your fingers, flip the rice-nori sheet over with the rice facing down, spread a dollop of spicy mayo sauce across the width of the nori sheet, add 1 slice of cucumber, a slice of avocado, a few sprigs of sea asparagus, and 2-3 crabs. Let part of the crabs and other ingredients stick out a little on the sides. Roll firmly and tightly. Cut the roll with a sharp knife in a quick saw-like motion. Clean the knife on a damp cloth before making another slice. May serve with a little extra spicy sauce and garnish with 1-2 fried crabs if interested.

ready to start rolling
wrapped bamboo mat
place sushi rice on nori sheet and press the rice down
flip over with rice facing down
add your fillings-avocado slice, cucumber slice,
sea asparagus, crabs and spicy mayo sauce
finished roll
close up of a slice with chunky crab meat

It is difficult for me to write how to cook rice because all my life I have never measured the rice or the water until this post. I started making rice when I was about 7 or 8 years old because my parents were both working. Back then I was making it the primitive way--in a pot, using wood and kindling that I gathered and making a fire. I had to watch it carefully, keep the lid slightly open so the water does not boil over and shifting my fire so the heat will not burn the rice. Nowadays I plug in the rice cooker to an outlet and push a button and in no time the rice is done. I have a rice cooker that my parents purchased for me decades ago when I landed my first job far away from home. It is a Japanese brand and it still makes perfect rice. If you do not have one I recommend getting one especially if you enjoy eating rice. It's a time saving appliance. 

fluffing rice using chopsticks and cooling with a hand fan
Sushi Rice (makes 6 fatter rolls or 8 thinner rolls)

Ingredients:

2 cups short-grain rice
2 1/2 cups water
4 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Method:

Gently wash your rice with water 2-3 times until the water in the rice is not cloudy. Drain all the rice and add about 2 1/2 cups water. Cook the rice in a rice cooker. Once the rice is done cooking, use chopsticks to stir or fluff up the rice, cover and let it continue to cook (keep the plug intact and do not press the button to cook on the rice cooker) for about 15-20 minutes. Once it is done, transfer the cooked rice to a glass or ceramic bowl. Drizzle the rice vinegar over the rice and fluff up the rice with chopsticks while using a hand fan to help cool the rice. Divide the rice into 6 or 8 portions depending on how fat or thin you want your rolls to be. Once cooled cover with a damp towel.

batter
prepared crabs and batter

battered fried soft-shell green crabs

Battered Fried Soft-Shell Green Crabs

Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup cold beer
18-20 prepared soft-shell green crabs (see How to Prepare Soft-Shell Green Crab for Eating)
Oil for deep frying

Method:

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl to blend. Add egg and beer and whisk to blend. Heat oil in a pot or a deep fryer to about 350 degrees F. If you do not have a thermometer you can test using a little batter. If it sizzle quickly then your oil is hot. Dip 2-3 crabs in the batter and fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to drain the oil.

*This batter should be enough for about 35-40 green crabs. In this recipe I use 18 prepared soft-shell green crabs ranging from 1 inch to 2 inches.
*I like adding turmeric but you can omit it. 
*I use an IPA beer.

Spicy Mayo Sauce

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp sriracha sauce

Method:

Mix until blended.

Helpful Hints:

*I use store-bought Avocado Oil Mayo for my Spicy Mayo Sauce.
*Sea Asparagus: for a few sprigs you can microwave about 20 seconds to blanch. However, for large amount I blanch them in boiling water for about 10 seconds. I remove them and run cold water over them once done and dab with a towel to dry especially when using for making sushi.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Crabby Pizza

crabby pizza

I have about 30 tiny crabs ranging in less than an inch across the carapace and I have a husband who loves to eat pizza. I fried these live crabs without any seasoning for about 10 seconds and scooped them out with a tiny strainer. You can blanch them in hot water as well but I had the fryer out when I was frying up the soft-shell crabs. I would hate to try to chase after them as they are crawling away from my pizza!

I texted 2 Family Nurse Practitioner colleagues my crabby pizza photo. Sue responded, "It looks yucky". Kelly responded, "Hahah yummy !!" Although, I can hear her screaming with sarcasm all over her text. I also received a strong "yes" from my gastroenterologist friend Thao asking if she would eat this. I will withhold their last names to protect their privacy! 😁

My husband ate the pizza but tells me that after eating crabs for 2 days straight he would like to eat cheerios the next day! 

deep fried green crabs for about 10 seconds
sea asparagus or salicornia
this pizza (on pizza peel) is all ready to go into the hot oven
freshly baked crabby pizza on a pizza stone
crabby pizza

Crabby Pizza 

Ingredients:

1 Basic Pizza Dough recipe, home-made or store-bought (see recipe below or use your own recipe)
About 30 live crabs (less than 1-inch), fried or blanched for about 10 seconds
1 medium sized tomato, thinly sliced, dabbed with paper towel to remove excess liquid
About 10-12 sprigs of sea asparagus, washed and blanched for about 20 seconds in the microwave
Thinly slices of cheese (your choice)
Thinly slices of red onion

Method:

Make the dough (see recipe below). Fry the live crabs in oil for about 10 seconds. Scoop them out onto paper towels to remove excess oil. Preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature (around 500-550 F if possible) with a pizza stone (if you have one). Dust the surface of your working area (use a pizza peel if you have one) with plenty of flour before placing the dough down. Flatten the dough out as thinly as you can prior to placing on the stone. Dab the tomato slices on a clean paper towel to remove excess liquid before scattering them on the pizza. This will help prevent the pizza from getting too soggy. Layer the cheese slices down and then arrange the crabs next. Arrange the crabs however you prefer. I arrange the smallest ones at the center and increase to larger ones to the peripheral. Next scatter with red onion slices and sea asparagus. Carefully slide the pizza onto the pre-heated pizza stone in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pizza crust is golden. For the last minute add a few more slices of cheese and turn off heat. Remove the pizza and enjoy.

*This pizza may serve as a meal for 1 person or appetizers for 2.


resting pizza dough for about 30 minutes

Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup "00" flour, plus extra for kneading
1/4 tsp salt

Method:

In a measuring glass add warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Sift flour and salt and add the liquid, knead for about 5 minutes. Wrap loosely in plastic or cover and rest for about 30 minutes. Before using knead again for 2-3 minutes.

*Adjust the water if needed depending on the humidity level in your environment.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Steamed Green Crab Egg Custard

When you hear "egg custard" you may think of a dessert such as creme brulee...at least that is how my husband, someone with a sweet tooth thinks! He got excited for a mere second until he realized that I am making a crab broth for this custard.

Japanese savory steamed egg custard, known as chawanmushi in Japanese is generally made with dashi using dried bonito flakes (fish flakes) and kombu (seaweed). People add a variety of ingredients inside this custard such as mushrooms, shrimp, chicken, fish cakes, carrots, beans, and ginkgo. In this recipe instead of the traditional dashi (stock) I use green crab broth, a piece of slightly smashed ginger and kelp that I harvested from the New Hampshire coast. You may check my previous posts for further details on how I make my stock or broth, How to Prepare Green Crabs for Making Stock and Simple Green Crab Stock. The crabs came from an afternoon of hunting specifically for green crabs and surveying them. I must thank a group of concerned citizen scientists and the 3 University of New Hampshire representatives for the crabs that I am using in this recipe.

steamed green crab egg custard

Steamed Green Crab Egg Custard

Ingredients:

1 cup of green crab stock, see How to Prepare Green Crabs for Making Stock, Simple Green Crab Stock links
2 large chicken eggs
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (I prefer the 3 green crabs brand, seriously!)
About 1/3 cup fresh green crab roe
4 cut carrot flowers, about 1/4 inch thick, cooked until soft, garnish
4 fresh cilantro leaves, garnish
4 ramekins

Method:

Make the stock or broth. In the meantime whisk chicken eggs in a bowl and strain it using a fine wire strainer into another bowl. Try to strain all the egg and scrape the bottom of the wire strainer to remove as much of the egg as possible. I tap the side of the strainer with my palm and this helps strain the whisked eggs. Once the broth is done strain the liquid in a strainer and discard the contents. If using previous frozen broth, heat it up before using. Season the stock with fish sauce.

Temper the hot broth and egg by scooping a ladle of the broth and while whisking the strained eggs slowy add the broth. Continue to add the hot broth slowly while whisking the eggs. The goal is to gradually raise the temperature of the whisked eggs without scrambling (cooking) them. 

Use a slotted spoon and divide the green crab roe in each ramekin. Any liquid left in the roe bowl can be added to the tempered egg and broth mixture. Pour the tempered egg and broth mixture into the ramekins. Cover the ramekins tightly with plastic wraps and place in a steamer. Be sure to have enough water for your steamer during cooking. Steam over high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, partially uncover the plastic wraps carefully (it is very hot so avoid burning yourself) and place a piece of cooked cut carrot flower and cilantro leaf on top (I slide these in using chopsticks). Cover the cups up with the same plastic wraps and continue to cook for about another 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot.


whisk eggs in a bowl
strain the whisked eggs in a fine wire strainer into another bowl
strain all the whisked eggs
ramekins in a bamboo steamer
divide the crab roe in the ramekins
pour the broth and egg mixture
wrap the ramekins with plastic tightly
bamboo steamer in a wok style pot
with water below the bamboo steamer for steaming
cover the wok style pot
steamed green crab egg custard
cooked custard and roe
my mother-in-law gave me these pretty cups with lids
which are typically used for the chawanmushi
(I did not use these tea cups because
I was unsure how they would tolerate the heat)

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

I love the idea of stuffing squash flowers with a filling--either meat, seafood, vegetables or a combination. It is difficult to find these ...