For years I had been hearing about the incredible salt and pepper mud crab made by Scotty’s dad, Peter. With Peter based in Queensland and us in Sydney there aren’t many opportunities to break bread together, and as a result many years had passed without me trying this fabled mud crab I had heard so much about.
The last time Peter visited us in Sydney, we all decided it was time to rectify the lack-of-mud-crab situation and so we headed out to purchase a couple of the suckers so that Peter could jump in the Chew Town kitchen and make this wonderful dish for us (and you). As an avid follower of Chew Town since its inception, it only makes sense that Peter finds a place on this blog. It probably is about time a Scotty family recipe also makes its way onto the pages of Chew Town.
A retired pilot, Peter has been eating cuisine from all over the world since he first took flight as a young man, and while this mud crab recipe isn’t exactly a replica of a dish that he’s eaten in other global cities, it is most definitely influenced by both his trips to Asian continents and his Queensland roots.
The recipe is incredibly simple, but it does all start with a mud crab cleaning session. Peter and I did this in our garden, and I’ve got a few photos of the process, but I’ve found the best video on how to prepare a mud crab for cooking (which is exactly how we did it) thanks to the Sydney Fish Markets – VIDEO
4-Ingredient Salt and Pepper Mud Crabs
- 2 live mud crabs (about 1 1/4 kg each)*
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
Put the two live crabs to sleep by placing in the freezer for 45-60 minutes. Then, clean the crabs by removing the large claws first and sectioning each torso into 4 pieces pieces per crab, and crack the shells of the crab pieces using the back of your knife/cleaver (see Sydney Fish Markets video linked in the post above).
Place a large heavy based metal pot over a medium/high heat (don't use a non stick pot as you may need to scour the pot after cooking). Add the olive oil then add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the large crab pieces to the pot first (large claws and the shoulder pieces) add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to the pot and then put the lid on and shake the pot up and down to toss the pieces. Turn to heat down to medium and Cook for 7-8 minutes.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper on the remaining crab pieces and add them to the pot. Top with a little more salt and pepper then put the lid on again and shake the pot to toss the pieces. If the pot is getting too dry or is burning, add a small about of water (only about a tablespoon) Leave on the heat for another 7-8 minutes to finish cooking.
Serve and eat immediately.
If you want to dress it up a little more, add finely sliced spring onion and fresh coriander leaves.
*You can use smaller or larger crabs, you will just need to adjust the cooking time down or up accordingly