Monday, September 30, 2019

Green Crab Stock For Chowders

green crab stock for chowders

Green Crab Stock For Chowders (makes about 4 1/2 cups)


15 prepared green crabs
6 C water
3 young kelps (dried or fresh)
About 10 cilantro stems and 2 cilantro roots
1 small yellow or white onion, peeled, quartered or diced
3-4 slices of ginger, bruised
2 garlic cloves, smashed


Prepare each crab by removing and discarding the carapace, apron, and gills. Scrub the crabs in a little salt and rinse in cold water, let them drain. Crush the crabs (the finer the crabs are crushed the more flavors the result). Place the crab in a pot and add water, kelp, cilantro stems, cilantro roots, onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the heat to high. Once the liquid starts to boil turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain and save the liquid for cooking.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Rice and Fish Soup (Chao Ca)

rice and fish soup (chao ca)
I grew up eating rice porridge or soup, sometimes refers to as congee, known in Vietnamese as "cháo" or in Teochew as "mue". Sometimes it is simply cooked with just a little rice and lots of water and we (my family and I) would eat this along with salted duck eggs, Teochew omelets, pickled greens or radishes, and/or some salty dishes. Other times it is made with seafood, poultry or meat for a more substantial meal. We consume these soups anytime throughout the day or when we are ill. Many years ago when my husband fell ill after visiting Cambodia my mother made rice soup with ground pork for him to restore his health when we saw her in Vietnam. One time, in between jobs, I stayed with my late grandmother for 3 months in Vietnam. I made her a similar rice and fish soup but with chicken stock. I bought a whole snakehead fish, a popular local fresh water fish at the market. After scaling and gutting it I placed the entire fish in the pot to cook. I removed the fish once it had been cooked, separated the flesh and returned it to the pot. My grandmother complimented that it was very tasty and ate 2 bowls that night. Normally she would eat only 1/2 a bowl of plain rice soup with a small piece of fermented bean curd, a salted olive-like seed or half a salted duck egg in the evening.

For this recipe instead of the green crabs I used Asian shore crabs that I hand-harvested from coastal New Hampshire. They are also an invasive species found in this region of the US but are smaller than the green crabs. The largest I caught measured about an inch across the carapace. These have lots of eggs so my soup has a beautiful yellow orange hue. If you substitute green crabs in this recipe you may use 15-20 adults as they are larger.

Recently I was at the dock crabbing and came across Capt. Ralph and his son docking after a day out at sea. He generously gave me a bag of haddock. Thank you, Capt. Ralph! I ate half that evening and the other half I froze. I thawed them for this recipe as haddock is a great chowder fish. Use as much fish as you prefer. You can use either cooked or uncooked rice. Typically I use leftover rice to make this soup--a way to use old rice and decrease cooking time.

rice and fish soup (chao ca)
Rice and Fish Soup (Cháo Cá)


45 Asian shore crabs, crushed (the finer the better)
10 cups water
1 yellow or white onion, sliced or chopped
3 dried or fresh young kelp
1 thumb sized ginger, sliced, chopped or julienned
2 garlic cloves, smashed
About 5 sprigs of cilantro stems
1/3 cup uncooked rice
About 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of haddock or cod
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped scallion
Chopped fresh chives or scallions, garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, garnish
Fried shallots, garnish
Freshly ground black or white pepper, garnish


Place the crushed crabs, water, onion, kelp, ginger, garlic and cilantro in a large pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Scoop out any yellow orange bits (a combination of meat and roe) that float to the top and reserve for the later.

After 30 minutes, strain the broth into another pot. Add rice to the broth. Cook until the rice is soft and enlarged (takes about 30 minutes for uncooked rice). After about 15-20 minutes of cooking add the fish. Once the fish is cooked (it will flake off easily) remove it and separate it into pieces (however small or large you prefer) of flesh and return the pieces back to the pot. Add the yellow orange bits to the pot. About 5 minutes before done add scallion and season with fish sauce.

Serve hot and garnish with chives or scallion, cilantro leaves, fried shallots and ground pepper.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Crab Roe On a Triple Deck

Our neighbors Joyce and Doug planned a neighborhood get together to meet one another. It seems that these days despite being surrounded by many neighbors we are living in isolation. Everyone rushes out to work in the morning and comes home late at night and stays in. The only time we see some of them is during a heavy snowstorm when we are forced to dig out our vehicles. Today's event was a success and we met some wonderful people. Thank you, Joyce for your brilliant idea!

I decided to serve some green crabs. Why not? This IS New England and we EAT seafood here! 😀I am not trying to win votes for anything. I just want to let people know about these invasive green crabs and to provide a very small taste to those interested. About half of the people (ok, maybe less!) tried and the rest just watched those taking a bite! I actually unable to tell if people actually liked it. One of them ate a second piece...maybe he felt obligated since I put it in front of his face!

This recipe calls for 10 small bites but feel free to make more. I steamed the hard shell female green crabs for about 10 minutes. Once cooled I kept them in the refrigerator. I harvested the roe and used for these appetizers. 

crab roe on a triple deck
Crab Roe On a Triple Deck


10 Ritz crackers (or crackers of your choice)
10 slices of brie (or cheese of your choice)
10 slices of sliced tomato (or cucumber), dabbed with paper towels to remove excess liquid
2 mint leaves (or another herb of your choice), cut into strips, chopped or hand torn
Roe from 8-10 cooked hard-shell female green crabs


Layer the brie slices, tomato slices, herb and roe on crackers.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Crab Brulee (makes 6 ramekins)

crab brulee

I first made non-dairy crème brûlée using strictly coconut milk instead of my normal heavy cream so that my mother can eat it as she is moderately lactose intolerant. The final result turned out creamy; much better and tastier than I had imagined. The term "crab brulee" coined by our friend, Mark Broomer. Thank you, Mark!

I used 1 Tahitian vanilla pod. You may use 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract if you prefer this over the beans.

crab brulee
Crab Brulee (makes 6 ramekins)


Roe from 8-10 adult female live green crabs
8 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp white sugar (or according to your taste), plus 1 tsp white sugar
14 oz (400 mL) of coconut milk
1 vanilla pod
Boiling water (for bath)
Turbinado sugar (raw sugar), about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per ramekin (or according to your taste and health)
Fresh berries to garnish if interested


Wash the female green crabs and drain. Remove the roe (eggs) and set aside. Rinse the roe and strain. Remove and discard any dark pieces or any non-roe bits. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the roe. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Boil water (this will be for the water bath), preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium size metal or glass bowl, whisk yolks and 3 tablespoons of white sugar together and set aside.

Shake the coconut milk can, open and pour it in a small pot. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape all the vanilla bean caviar (using the tip of a knife) and add these tiny beans and pod to the pot. Cook over medium high heat. Once the liquid starts to boil turn heat down to a simmer, stir occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Temper the cream and vanilla mixture initially a little at a time (about one ladle at a time) to the bowl with the yolks and sugar, while constantly whisking the contents.

Place 6 ramekins in a casserole dish. Divide each ramekin with the liquid (mixture). Divide the crab roe in each ramekin. Place the casserole dish with the filled ramekins inside the oven. Pour the hot bath water into the casserole dish about 1/3 up to the ramekins. Take care not to burn yourself or pour any water inside the ramekins.

Bake for about 40 minutes, remove the casserole dish and let them cool. Once done the top will resemble a custard instead of liquid.

When ready to eat, sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top of each ramekin and blow torch the top to caramelize the sugar. You may put the ramekins in the oven to broil (for a minute or two) and this will help caramelize the sugar. Keep a close eye on the ramekins while they are in the oven as the high heat will easily burn the sugar instead of caramelize it.

For any that you cannot eat right away you may wrap each ramekin in plastic and refrigerate.

Vietnamese Crab and Asparagus Soup (Sup Mang Cua)

Apparently Vietnamese crab and asparagus soup (súp măng cua) is a popular soup eaten on special occasions such as wedding banquets in Vietna...