© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <email@example.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA
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Recipe from: The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam, Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron's, 1979.
Here we have a party dish that will bring out "oohs" and "ahs" from your guests on sight - and a repeat performance on taste. Crab claws, alone, are sometimes available in fish stores. If they aren't, boil several hard shell crabs and use the claws; you can use the bodies in many other dishes. The crab claws in fish stores are already partially peeled and serve not only as a handle but are edible as well. If you prepare your own claws, peel the upper section around which you mold the shrimp paste.
10 crab legs or several hard shell crabs
shrimp paste, prepared as for Cháo Tôm
¼ cup vegetable oil
Boil the crab legs or crabs for about 10 minutes, then drain and cool; remove the claws from the crabs, if using, and reserve the bodies for another purpose.
Have the shrimp paste ready; preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pour the oil into a bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil and pick up 2 tablespoons of the shrimp paste. Mold it into an oval around and halfway down the crab claw, covering the part of the claw where it was attached to the body; this will leave a claw tip extended to serve as a handle. Place the claws on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with nước chấm and watercress.
In Vietnam, this dish is always barbecued over charcoal. If you wish to prepare it this way, cook for 10 minutes on each side.