Crab And Pork Stuffed Shells (Poo Jah)
This is traditionally made from small whole fresh blue crabs or swimming crabs in Thailand. The fresh crabs are droped into boiling water to quickly cook After they cool a bit you split the shells and remove the meat. You use the top shell to hold the pu jaa.
Sometimes I just use Dungeness crab or even good quality fresh crab meat. You can use those cute little porcelain ramekins instead of crab shells for this tasty appetizer, although the crab or even scallop shells make a fun first course or appetizer.
You should use a bamboo steamer or a steamer with a towel under the lid to prevent condensation dripping on to the crab.
1 duck egg (or large hen's egg)
2 Tbs minced garlic
2 Tbs chopped cilantro (including the root if possible)
4 oz. crabmeat
4 oz. lean ground pork
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs light soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and then spoon a quarter of the mixture into each of four crab shells or ramekin dishes, and steam for about 15 minutes until cooked.
Serve on a leaf or two of lettuce.
Garnish with slivered length-wise red and green chiles and cilantro leaves.
Note: You can make this spicy by adding a little minced Thai chiles (phrik chee fa).
Note crab information: Blue crabs are most often used for this dish, Dungeness Crab works great as well using the large top hard shell as a family style serving dish.
If you live in an area where lobster is plentiful this recipe using lobster meat served in the half shell would be simply amazing. A King's dish for sure.
Picked crab meat is sold commercially, and the canning operations have huge crab picking 'houses' usually manned by local women armed with sharp knives and who manage to completely remove the meat, sorted into lump, claw, backfin, and the other smaller bits, in less time than a the usual crab eater takes just to get into one crab, remove the gills, and pry out the lumps. I often buy Phillip's Brand crab meat in the refrigerated tin when Dungeness is not in season here and it is fabulous for this recipe.
Maryland and Virginia crab works great also.
Blue crabs average 15% edible meat, and that meat is high in vitamin B12. Just three ounces of crab meat contain a full day's allowance of the vitamin.