Every time we head up Northern California, my husband and I make an effort to stop by the Boiling Crab in Sacramento. The Boiling Crab is a Cajun-Asian fusion restaurant that serves craw fish, shrimp, oysters, crab and other seafood. The seafood is served in plastic bags, drenched in a thick aromatic sauce that is literally finger-licking good. Eating is also a lot of fun. Nothing's sexier than adults putting on bibs and eating with their fingers.
The line at the Boiling Crab is always out the door, at least when I go. I hate crowds and I hate waiting. We typically just make a drive-by, see the madness, then haul-ass out of there to eat somewhere else. Even delicious food will not make me deal with crowds.
I made it my goal to replicate their sauce at home. I searched the internet in hopes of quickly finding their sauce recipe but no such luck. It turns out their recipe is highly guarded and you won't find much information online. So I decided to search in forums, in hopes of finding their employees or former employees hinting at the ingredients. Success.
I'm not sure if the recipe below is their actual recipe, but I think it's pretty close. It was also delicious and it satisfied my Boiling Crab cravings. If I don't ever master their exact recipe, this recipe will do me just fine.
Boiling Crab Shrimp Copycat Recipe:
1 lb shrimp with head, tail and unpeeled; steamed or boiled
1 head of garlic
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon red curry
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
In a medium size pan, heat the butter until melted.
Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
Add rest of ingredients and mix until combined. Let the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the cooked shrimp.
Toss evenly until combined then serve.
Banh Canh is the only Vietnamese noodle soup that you will eat with a spoon. However, if you are like my kids, forego the spoon and chopsticks altogether, and slurp it directly from the bowl.
Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp, or Tom Rim, is a quick and easy side dish in a traditional Vietnamese home-cooked meal. It's a very simple dish of sweet and savory shrimp that goes wonderfully with steamed white rice.
We opted for a seafood boil this Thanksgiving. It’s quicker to make and everyone enjoys grabbing their favorite seafood. We did King crab legs, clams, large shrimp, sausage and sweet corn. The sauce that brought everything together was a fiery and buttery garlic lemon pepper. Everything came together in under 30 minutes. If you have half an hour to spare, you too can make a feast fit for a King.
The Holidays are around the corner and that means one thing. Gaining weight with lots of good food.
One of my favorite dishes to make during the Holidays is Vietnamese shrimp and pork egg rolls (Cha Gio Tom Thit). It’s a combination of traditional Vietnamese egg rolls (Cha Gio) and whole shrimp. Carry a basket of these bad boys to a dinner party and you’ll be the life of the party… or at least until the egg rolls runs out.
Wontons are a type of Chinese dumpling. Hoành Thánh is the Vietnamese equivalent and they are made primarily out of ground pork.
There are many ways to cook wontons. They can be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, deep-fried or a combination of these techniques (pan-fried first then add a little bit of water to steam with a covered lid), much like pot stickers.
It's starting to feel like Summer! The weather is finally warming up. The birds are chirping. The kids are playing outside and the neighbors are walking around half-naked. More importantly, the garden is blooming. The other day, I harvested my first Opo Squash (Bầu). I'm so proud of it because it's the first ever Opo Squash that didn't die as soon as it got started. Opo Squash, also known as Calabash Gourd or White Gourd, grows on vines and can grow up to the size of a baseball bat if you let it. Not only can you use it as a lethal weapon, Opo Squash can be used in a traditional Vietnamese side dish, Opo Squash and Shrimp Soup (Canh Bau Tom).
To eat dim sum is to eat leisurely. You savor the yummy bite-sized portions of Cantonese food while sipping hot tea in between each bite. I love everything that is Dim Sum, and one of my favorite dim sum dishes is Há Cảo (or Har Gow in Cantonese).
Soft Tofu Stew or Sundubu Jjigae is made with really ripe and sour kimchi and a rich anchovy-based broth. The broth is flavored with soy sauce, Korean red pepper flakes (Gochugaru) and Korean hot pepper paste (Gochujang). You can add pork, beef, and/or seafood for different varietions. The stew is cooked and served in an earthenware stone bowl and usually topped with mushrooms, green onions and a raw egg to cook in the bubbling hot liquid. In Korean restaurants, you also get a side of fluffy steamed rice, along with the various other Korean pickled side dishes known as Banchan.
Honey Walnut Shrimp is a widely popular Chinese-American takeout dish. It's crunchy succulent shrimp dressed in a creamy honey-mayo sauce, topped with caramelized walnuts. It is a tasty appetizer or when eaten with steamed white rice, a filling entree that's loved by many.
Vietnamese Spring Roll or Goi Cuon Tom Thit is a refreshing appetizer made up of shrimp, pork, vermicelli noodles, and an assortment of vegetables rolled in rice paper. They are served at room temperature with a side of peanut dipping sauce or alternatively, Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce. This dish is best eaten in Spring and Summer when fresh herbs such as Perilla, Sorrel, and Chinese chives, are plentiful and cheap.
Udon is thick Japanese noodles made from wheat flour. It's great in both soups and stir-frys. I would occasionally swap out my regular Banh Canh noodles, made from mostly tapioca flour, with Udon noodles because it's heartier with better texture. Udon in stir-fry is also great because the thick udon noodles absorb stir fry sauce nicely.
Vietnamese Pork & Seafood Noodle Soup or, Hủ Tiếu, is to South Vietnam as Phở is to North Vietnam, and Bún bò Huế is to Central Vietnam. Hủ Tiếu consists of mostly pork and seafood, and it's a lot more versatile than the other noodle dishes.
The other day my family and I tried a relatively new restaurant in Oakland Chinatown that specializes in Da Nang cuisine. Of course, Mi Quang was one of their signature items and it had raving reviews on Yelp. However, when I tried it, I found the broth underwhelming. I told my mother-in-low, Cooking Extraordinaire, about my experience and of course, she set out to prove that the best Mi Quang comes from home. She didn't disappoint.
A quick recipe for an eggplant and shrimp stir fry (Ca Tim Xao Tom) in a simple garlic and oyster sauce. It was a quick yet delicious side dish to steamed white rice.
Vietnamese Combination Dry Egg Noodles, or Mi Kho Thap Cam, is similar to the more well known Hu Tieu Kho but except instead of Hu Tieu noodles, a chewy and clear noodle made from tapioca flour, it is made with Mi noodles, a noodle made from eggs and wheat flour. The toppings are the same as in Hu Tieu Kho, which is pretty much a smorgasbord of proteins. It is served dry. However, it comes with a small bowl of Hu Tieu broth on the side for slurping. The dish also comes with a soy sauce dressing that you pour over the noodles. You mix everything together, thoroughly incorporating the bean sprouts and Chinese chives on the bottom of the noodles.
Salt and pepper prawn is deep fried with a light corn starch coating. The crispy prawns are then quickly tossed in a hot wok with garlic, jalapenos, and shallots then sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Vietnamese Soup Shrimp soup is a traditional side dish in Vietnamese home-cooking. It's a classic soup component for many Vietnamese family-style meals. It's sweet, spicy, savory and sour.
Banh Khot, or Vietnamese savory mini pancakes, is made from a batter of rice flour, corn starch, tumeric powder and coconut milk. The batter is fried on a cast iron Banh Khot or Aebleskiver frying pan to crispy perfection on the outside and fluffy on the inside. These mini pancakes are topped with shrimp, brushed with scallion oil and sprinkled with a dash of toasted minced dried prawns. They come with a plate stacked high in Vietnamese herbs and a small bowl of spicy and sweet dipping sauce.
Shrimp Egg Roll, Cha Gio Cuon Tom, is a super simple Vietnamese appetizer. It is whole shrimp, marinated in a quick sauce, rolled in egg wrappers and deep fried. It comes with a side of a sweet chili dipping sauce. It's fancy. It's delicious. Best of all, it's super simple to make that is guaranteed to impress a crowd.
Sugar cane shrimp skewer or Chao Tom is a traditional Vietnamese appetizer. It is typically served in dinner banquets at Asian weddings and other special occasions and also one of the many offerings at Dim Sum. You can eat them directly as finger foods, or remove the shrimp from the skewer and wrap it in lettuce and dip with a Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce.
One of the quickest soups that I make is Winter Melon Soup with Shrimp or Canh Bi Dao Tom. Winter melon soup has a mild sweet taste and because shrimp is used, it cooks up in minutes.
Pot stickers are mini meals that are easy to make and easy to eat. The fillings are soft and moist, and the wrapper is thick and chewy. Plus, the dumplings are versatile. You can use any type of ground meat and any type of vegetables. Made too many? Pop the uncooked ones in the freezer and they can keep for months!
I made it my goal to replicate the Boiling Scrab sauce at home. I searched in forums, in hopes of finding their employees or former employees hinting at the ingredients. Success. I'm not sure if this recipe is their actual recipe, but I think it's pretty close. It was also delicious and it satisfied my Boiling Crab cravings. If I don't ever master their exact recipe, this recipe will do me just fine.
Now that Spring has sprung, it is time for a light and refreshing dish. One of my favorite dishes in this warm weather is Vietnamese Shrimp Salad (Goi Tom).