So last weekend, when he spotted live, active crabs at our local Asian market, there was no way he could resist. After convincing me that he would do all of the work of cooking them (I get a little squeamish around live seafood), we came home with two large Dungeness crabs in tow.
As promised, the boyfriend cleaned and steamed the crabs, leaving me to work on a simple, but delicious Thai seafood dipping sauce to serve them with. This sauce is similar to many Thai dishes in that its main flavors are spicy and sour. The spice comes from green Thai chilis which are pounded into a paste with cilantro roots and garlic. Lime juice provides the acidity while fish sauce and palm sugar are used to balance out the other flavors.
The amounts of each of these ingredients is up to your personal preferences. The boyfriend prefers his dipping sauce to have a more round flavor, so I tend to add a little more palm sugar and fish sauce to balance out the spice and sourness. One of our Thai friends, however, prefers for the flavors of this sauce to be very bold, without any sugar at all.
By the time I was done making this sauce and snapping a few photos, the boyfriend had finished steaming the crabs. All told, it was a matter of about 20 minutes before we were able to enjoy fresh, succulent crab meat with a wonderfully spicy and sour seafood dipping sauce. It was such a simple meal, yet so delicious!
I’m thinking I might have to look out for fresh seafood more often, especially if it means the boyfriend will do all of the hard work :)