Garlic Crab – Good Memories, so tasty and so simple!

Growing up we used to eat Crab all the time, Stuffed Crab backs, boiled crab with spicy soy sauce, garlic crab, curry crab to name a few.  In high school one of my best friends house was the hangout house after school. We all used to go there, listen to music, watch TV, dance, “Model”, try on makeup, do hair and eat! My friend’s dad was Chinese/Jamaican and he loved to cook for us.  He would always say to us “You kids hungry?”  and based on the fact that most of us were in boarding school, we were always hungry.  Needless to say the food where we lived was not great at all!  I remember fondly that he had a huge cage built in his backyard that he kept live crabs in, and he would take pleasure in catching and boiling them for us and serve them straight from the pot on a table covered with newspaper and spicy scotch bonnet flavored soy sauce. The crabs were so sweet and tasty and to this day it is one of my many fondest memories of eating them.  (I’ll include the soy sauce recipe later in the post).

Another memory of crabs in Jamaica brings me back to Negril in the Mid 80’s where I lived when I was not in Boarding school, at a hotel called Hedonism 11 (look it up if you don’t know it).  Once a year there would be a massive invasion of crabs that would descend upon the hotel which would create pandemonium among the visiting guests.  One time in particular, my cousin Karen (who is no longer with us and we miss dearly) and her then boyfriend Michael were visiting from Canada and we went on a typical all night crab catching expedition.  This involved carrying a large crocus bag (Burlap bag for the foreigners), Kerosene oil lamps, sticks to hold down the crabs, and patience.  We collected crabs for at least 2-4 hours until the bag was full.  When we got home with the bag we tied it off and left it in another room in the house until morning.  In the morning, we were awoken by screaming. It was the helper who had entered the room that the crabs were in and discovered that they had escaped out of the bag and taken over the whole room.  It took us hours to re-catch them, we were finding crabs hiding everywhere!  Eventually we got them all and had a feast!

So my recipe today is for Garlic Crab which has a Chinese twist, and I know there are may versions of this out there, which may be better/worse but this is how I make it for my family.  We are not able to get land crab in Florida, so we usually use king crab, but you can substitute for Alaskan crab legs or any crab you can get hold of.  I also have put shrimp in the mix too.

What You Need:  GARLIC CRAB

  • 2 Pounds of Crab Claws in shell cut into 1-2 inch pieces (already cooked/Boiled)
  • 4 Stalks of Green onion/Eskellion
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper or more if you like heat
  • 1 Stick of butter unsalted (the picture shows salted butter which I did use but unsalted with the oyster sauce is better, and Yes you can replace with a healthier spread, but butter tastes better)
  • 2-3 Tbs Chinese Oyster Sauce

Melt the stick of butter and add garlic, eskellion, scotch bonnet and saute.  Add oyster sauce once the seasoning has been infused into the butter.  Oyster sauce is salty so you can put more or less based on your liking .

Add crab into the pan and saute well on a medium high eat, pouring sauce into the open ends of crab pieces.  Once combined well cover and turn off the pan and let crab sit in juices.  Serve with either crusty bread or pumpkin seasoned rice.

Scotch Bonnet Soy sauce:

  • 1 Cup Dark soy sauce
  • 4 stalks green onion cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 to whole scotch bonnet cut up
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

Combine all ingredients except oil. Stir well. Heat oil in frying pan until almost smoking. Pour on top of soy sauce mixture and stand back . Will sizzle. You may use the sauce on a variety of different things such as Chinese boiled chicken, crab, shrimp, pork, and in Chinese fried rice.