The crab has always been revered by gourmands as one of the sea’s most precious treasures. The perfect morsels of jade-white meat that is prized out of the shell needs little or no embellishment.
With a little imagination and ingenuity, Chinese cooks can get more out of what precious little crab meat there is to make this luxurious ingredient go further on the festive table.
Note: These Hai Choe dumplings can be made weeks ahead. After steaming the segmented rolls, let them cool down before wrapping them up in cling film or store in air-tight containers for freezing. Defrost the rolls when needed and deep-fry before serving. This recipe was first published in Flavours magazine.
- Crabmeat paste:
- 200g pork (belly or shoulder cut)
- 300g fish paste
- 200g crabmeat
- 300g carrots, grated
- 100g water chestnuts, diced
- 100g spring onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons white pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon light soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 8 beancurd sheets measuring 10”x6”
- 32 hemp strings 5” length
- 500ml oil
- Boil pork for 15 minutes, then remove from boiling water and set aside to cool before dicing up meat.
- In a bowl, combine diced pork, fish paste, crabmeat, carrots, water chestnuts, spring onions. Chill the paste in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- To prepare dumplings: Spread out a piece of beancurd sheet on a flat surface and moisten with a piece of clean damp cloth.
- Place spoonfuls of the crabmeat paste onto the damp sheet, leaving a space of 1” from all sides.
- Shape the paste into a long roll, fold the beancurd sheet over and roll it up.
- Tie up each end of the roll, 1” away from the ends of the beancurd sheet, with hemp strings. Secure each tie with a double knot.
- Use another piece of hemp string and tie the middle of the roll with a double knot, essentially dividing the roll into 2 sections. Be careful not to pull the string too tightly to prevent the beancurd skin from breaking.
- Repeat the tying process at the midpoint between the 2 sections. The crabmeat roll will now be divided into 4 segments measuring about 2” in length each. Do the same with paste until all beancurd sheets are used up.
- Place the tied-up rolls gently into a steamer and steam for 20 minutes. Allow the steamed rolls to cool down for about 1 hour to firm up texture.
- Once cooled, heat up oil in pan and deep-fry the tied crabmeat rolls till golden brown. Drain off excess oil, then snip off the hemp strings, cut the dumplings at the tied segments and serve hot.