Cycle 4 – Item 37
11 (Mon) February 2013
Black Bean Crab
at the cabin
-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-
with the Family, Mom + Dad
In stark contrast to my aunt, whose kitchen skills run rustic/humble, as exemplified in yesterday’s countryside dish (see 4.036 Braised Babyback Ribs with Siraegi Kimchi), my mother’s ambitions tend toward the global/showy (see for example 2.029 Tofu Spring Rolls). Though clearly grandstanding, she’ll try to play insouciant, fooling nobody, often with a glib remark, like “Sorry, it’s not very good, but I just had some crab lying around the fridge, and this is all that I could manage.” To which the proper response should be something like “You mean, you improvised this amazing dish?!?!” To which the inevitable rejoinder would be something like “Well, maybe next time, if I put some effort into it, I can do better.” My aunt does the exact same thing, as described yesterday. Nobody complains because the food is usually very good.
This crab dish was indeed amazing. The crabs were cut into quarters, dredged and deep-fried, then stir-fried with whole fermented black beans, which have a sharp and pungent aroma that pairs perfectly with the sweet and briny meat of crab, or any shellfish really (e.g., shrimp, lobster, clams). The sauce included a stock derived from the crab shells and innards, further intensifying the flavors. My only regret was that the crabs were difficult to eat around the shells, prompting the idea that soft shell crabs or king crab legs would be ideal. I obtained the recipe, so I’ll try it myself that way – as soon as I happen to get some crab lying around the fridge.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)