These spicy and delicious claws can be served as an appetizer or as an exotic curry with rice.
I heard the stone crab claw harvest was bad this year. That’s too bad because they are really quite delicious and in Florida, the practice is to harvest the claw and toss the crab back so it can regrow a new one which can be a good deal for the crab, obviously.
I actually made this with Jonah crab claws which are a type of crab the ranges further north than Florida and is similar to the Dungeoness crab. You could easily make this with any type of crab, such as Snow crab legs or King crab. Using the smaller blue crabs probably isn’t a good idea since those are mostly for picking meat for crab cakes and stuffed crab. You could do it but it would be a pain. And of course you could just heat surimi (fake crab) in the curry sauce or use something like shrimp. But of course around the holidays I often enjoy having crab claws for at least part of a meal, either as an appie or an entree.
Kaffir lime leaves I keep frozen after I get them. I can find them many times but usually at a market that’s a long drive from home, so I freeze them so I don’t have to make the drive all the time. If you don’t have those try using some lime zest but there is an aroma and flavor about the kaffir lime that you won’t get. So when you DO see the leaves, grab them up so using lime zest doesn’t become a bad habit.
I also use jasmine rice when serving this with rice. It is an aromatic type of rice, the way basmati rice is aromatic (which you may have heard about). I do use jasmine rice in almost every single Thai recipe I make. I don’t use it exclusively in Asian dishes, as I sometimes use Korean rice and I have used basmati. Mostly I use basmati in recipes for Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine and that rice I get is imported. But you can use whatever you want- using something like Riceland long-grain is not going to ruin your recipe. If someone tells you otherwise, they are just yanking your chain.
The coconut milk in this is unsweetened. You can get that in the imported foods section of the market. You could also use thinned coconut cream. Just don’t use the sweetened coconut milk such as Coco Lopez. That is for making desserts and things like pina coladas. Using that will ruin the recipe.
The bell pepper in this is probably not very traditional. I did use it because I like the flavor and the color. You can feel free to use small round Thai eggplant in this as a little bit of vegetable but in any case, this curry is not vegetable heavy since t is meant mainly to be an appetizer.
As far as portions go, use about 1/2 pound crab claws per person as an appetizer size. Of course for the main event, increase the size to at least a pound per person or people will be hungry.
I do hope you enjoy- I find this to be a very elegant and even easy to make appetizer. And of course, no one has to ever ask me twice if I want to eat Thai cuisine.
Stone Crab Claws in Red Curry
- 2 pounds Jonah crab claws or Stone crab claws or crab legs of any type
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or other cooking oil
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sliced bell pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh ripe tomato
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, palm sugar, (or Splenda brown sugar blend to taste)
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 16 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped
- minced fresh Thai chiles (optional)
- steamed jasmine rice (optional)
- Heat oil in a covered skillet and saute the kaffir, onion, bell pepper and garlic in the coconut oil.
- Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, coconut milk, and curry paste, whisking until it is blended.
- Bring mixture to a boil then add sliced tomato and crab claws; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until crab is heated through.
- Stir in basil.
- Serve garnished with sliced hot chiles if desired, alone as an appetizer or along with steamed jasmine rice as part of a curry.
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