Tassie Mussels on butter sauce, Chilli Mud Crab and another great summer dinner

We usually enjoy our Saturday nights cooking with friends and this hot weekend was no different. Except that we actually cooked something a bit out of the ordinary.

Four hungry birds craving for some fresh seafood. The boys headed to the markets in the afternoon and decided on Australian mud crabs which looked extremely fresh, meaty and not as pricie as usual. After all, mud crabs are in season.

We then washed the live crustaceans and put them to sleep in the freezer for about one hour before cooking. If you’ve never heard of it, this is the most humane way of killing crabs.

A bit of deliberation on the sauce then we all headed to the kitchen.

For a starter, we steamed some fresh Tasmanian mussels and tossed it with a beautiful butter sauce. It was divine for a recipe that we came up wit in the last minute. Nothing less than the most juicy and flavorsome mussels that I’ve tried in Australia.

By now we are all fighting for the last mussel in the bowl and coming to the conclusion that we either needed more mussels (which in reality we don’t have) or we MUST start on the crab ASAP.

Back to the kitchen, we put the crabs in a big stock pot with boiling water and left them cooking for approx 12 to 15 minutes after the water returned to a boil.

Once ready, the crabs were cleaned, broken in the middle and cooked for another 3 to 5 minutes into the chilli sauce.

That was spot on! The only thing to actually break our silent were all the cracks of the claws and a bit of laugh here and there.

It was obviously a bit messy and not the most finesse dinner that we put together but you have to agree that getting your hands dirty is actually the proper way of eating crabs!

We completely forgot about the finger bowl so the big question was: “who is actually going to stop and take some photos right now?” Not lots of candidates really.

Chilli Crabs:

2 mud crabs (approx 1.2 Kg each)
4 large tomatoes chopped
200 ml fish stock
2-3 cm piece ginger, julienned
3 cloves garlic
2 red chillies, halved & seeds removed
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 bunch coriander, chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil


Wash the live crabs and put them to sleep in the freezer for about one hour before cooking.

Take the crabs out of the freezer and put them straight into a big stock pot with boiling water. Left them cooking for approx 12 to 15 minutes after the water returns to a boil.

Remove the crabs from water and chop them is halves, removing lungs and crack the claws by hitting them across the middle with a knife.

Heat sesame oil in a very large fry pan or a wok until smoking.
Add onion and cook till almost translucent, add garlic, tomatoes and cook it for a few minutes. Add the fish stock and heat it up.
Add ginger, chillies and stir for a few minutes.

Place the crabs in the fry pan, toss it and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve it.


Butter Sauce for the Mussels:

In a shallow fry pan, fry 3 cloves of chopped garlic on 3 tbsp of melted butter. Mix white wine and a pinch of salt. Add some chopped coriander for garnish and toss the steamed mussels with it.

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