My late grandma cooked pork-stuffed crab shells for my siblings and me when we were kids, and when I was an adult, she cooked them for Jac and me a couple of times when we visited her in her home. It’s one of my favourite dishes from my childhood and Jac knows this – she was keen to try cooking it herself.*
I wrote about pork-stuffed crab shells in a story I wrote as part of my Honours thesis – see excerpt at the end of this post.
Jac got to work extracting the meat from the cooked crabs, making sure to save the crab body shells as she cracked her way through the legs. She mixed the crab meat through pork mince seasoned with soy sauce, white pepper, fish sauce, garlic, coriander**, ginger, a touch of sweet chilli sauce and an egg to bind it all together. She stuffed the meat mixture in the crab shells and steamed the crabs to get the meat cooked. She then browned them in the wok. It smelled fantastic. I loitered in the kitchen like our cats!
There was so much pork and crab meat mix, she made meatballs too.
Jac served the pork-stuffed crab shells with steamed broccoli and rice. I took my time eating my pork and crab, savouring every delicious bite. Just like I always did when I was child, I scraped the shell clean, making sure not a scrap of pork or crab was left behind. Jac’s version of the dish was close enough to my memory of my grandma’s version that it didn’t disappoint, yet it tasted different to my memory – it was distinctly “Jac’s version” and I liked that. If you read the excerpt from my Honours story at the end of this post, you’ll see Jac’s version was quite different to my grandma’s.
Even better that eating this was knowing there was pork and crab left over for the next day!
The next day, we made hot crab burgers for brunch. We had a bag of almost stale hamburger buns in the fridge. Jac revived them by toasting them under the grill. She microwaved the pork/crab meat until piping hot. I buttered the buns and we assembled our hot pork and crab burgers. There was no need for any sauce.
I am not exaggerating when I say this was one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten. I could’ve eaten more, but sadly, there was no pork and crab meat left.
This may just motivate me to go crabbing! The downside? Cleaning up and disposing of the stinky crab shells!
Excerpt from The Pineappleness of Pineapple (from my Honours thesis)
My favourite time of day was dinnertime, when my grandmother Mama called, “Come and eat rice!