Saturday, 30 August 2008

Kayabang Crabs

kayabang crab from Siargao Island, NE Mindanao, Philippines, home of Cloud 9 surfing spotThe local kayabang crabs come out of their burrows among the near-shore coconut trees every full moon, and set out on a determined march to the beach, where they get up to ... well, I really don't know what.

On the way, they go straight through anything passable, including of course, houses.

I found this one yesterday, sitting amongst my pots and pans.

They're not particularly friendly, because the local people go out with coconut frond torches, to catch them as they cross the beach.

They're quite delicious, cooked in coconut milk, as ginaatan. This is a very well-known soup in the Philippines, and the base can be used for almost anything.

Here's the base, stolen from Filipino Vegetarian Recipes - actually their recipe is for cooking saba bananas, but it's the same as used by every Filipina the length and breadth of the islands.

1 tsp salt
1/4 c oil (can cut down on this)
2 c coconut milk
3-5 cloves of garlic (to your taste), chopped finely
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 fresh chillis, sliced (optional)
2 tsp dried shrimp, soaking in 2 tsp hot water
1/2 c sili leaves (or other greens that might go with this, like spinach, for example)

(If you don't understand US recipe cups and teaspoons as measures, then just use your common sense, get it right the second time, and go on from there).

The result's delicious, and when you've just caught the crab in the pan he's going to be cooked in, somehow even more so.

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