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Spicy Stir-Fried Crab Legs (Cua Xao Gung Ot)

Delicious and succulent crab legs and claws stir-fried in a spicy and savory Asian sauce.

During the summertime I love dining outside and am always looking for casual meals to take outdoors.  So I love dishes where everything can be made in one big wok or pot and then taken right to the table.   This Spicy Stir-Fried Crab Legs is that perfect summertime dish.  Quick and easy to make, these crab legs are stir-fried with a spicy, savory sauce that is finger-licking good.  Add some corn-on-the cob and a salad and you have a scrumptious no-fuss meal to enjoy during the summer months.

Notes on the recipe

You can use both crab legs and claws in this recipe.  If buying whole crab legs, cut them into 4 inch lengths.

I bought the crab claws already cut and scored which is so convenient.  (The brand is called Nautilus and they are sold frozen.)  The scoring not only makes them easier to crack open but also allows the stir-fry sauce to permeate the meat during cooking.

You can use fresh crab legs as well.  Just cook them before stir-frying.

Substitute the red chilies with red bell peppers or any mild peppers of your choice if you want to tone down the heat.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

4 lb cooked crab claws/legs, cut and scored
4 garlic cloves
1-inch ginger
3-4 red chilies
1 small yellow onion
4 green onions

Stir-fry Sauce
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp plum sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (for stir-frying)

Directions

Rinse crab legs with cool water several times to wash off any dirt or sand. Drain in a colander.

Smash garlic, remove the skin and then chop.
Peel off skin from ginger and then cut into thin strips.
Cut red chilies in half, remove the core and then cut into thin strips.
Cut the onion into thin slices.
Cut the green onions into 2-inch sections.

In a measuring cup add water, soy sauce, Vodka 5-Spice Marinade, oyster sauce, plum sauce, cornstarch, ground black pepper and stir until smooth.

Heat a large wok or skillet over High heat.  When hot, add vegetable oil.  Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 15 seconds.  Add the yellow onions, red chilies and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the crab and toss in the wok, cooking for 2 minutes.  Drizzle 1/3 of the sauce onto the crab legs coating them evenly.  Toss together.  Drizzle another 1/3 of the sauce and toss together.  Add the remaining sauce and combine.  Stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes tossing, coating the crab legs with the sauce.

Turn off the heat, add the green onions and ground black pepper and combine together.

Yields: 4 servings

Enjoy these spicy, savory and succulent crab claws in no time at all with this easy recipe!

Enjoy these spicy, savory and succulent crab claws in no time at all with this easy recipe!

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Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho Gung)

Delicious Ginger Chicken -- so easy to make and so tasty!

This classic Viet dish, Ginger Chicken, strikes a wonderful balance between zesty, sweet and savory.  The ginger is mildly spicy and wonderfully fragrant.  Add in the robust marinade and you have a flavorful dish that is super easy to make.  This is one of my favorites when I need to put a meal together fast.  Add rice and some steamed vegetables and dinner is served.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

2-inch section fresh ginger
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 small onion, finely diced
1/2 Tbsp Caramel Sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 green onion, finely chopped

Directions

Peel the ginger.  Cut ginger into thin slices and then into strips.

Cut chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.

In a medium bowl combine chicken with oyster sauce, fish sauce, half of the minced garlic, half of the minced onions, caramel sauce and 1/4 of ginger strips.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Heat wok over Medium-High heat and when hot add vegetable oil.   Add the remaining onions and garlic and stir fry for 15 seconds.  Add the chicken to the wok and leave the marinade behind.  Spread the chicken in the wok in a single layer.  Cook on each side for 2 minutes.

Add the remaining marinade and water and combine with the chicken.   Cook on Low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the remaining ginger and toss together.  Cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Add the black pepper and green onions.

Yields: 4 servings

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Roast Duck (Vit Quay)

This unique roasting method that I am about to share will be the only way you’ll roast duck forever more.  The traditional recipes for roasting a duck are time-consuming and laborious.  It requires constant babysitting, flipping and rotating to get the bird to brown evenly.  Then after all that work, you have a duck that looks great on the outside but is dry and leathery on the inside.  You end up drowning it in pools of sauce to mask the dryness.  Who wants that?

Baking a duck in an oiled paper bag is a technique I’ve used to roast my Thanksgiving turkeys for years now.  It was just recently that I adapted this recipe for a duck.  The results–an easy recipe that guarantees a golden, juicy and delicious duck.  Seeing is believing but you really have to try this recipe and taste the difference!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Use only peanut oil and do not substitute with another vegetable oil.  Peanut oil has a high tolerance for heat.

Make sure to use enough peanut oil to saturate the paper bag.  There should not be any dry paper visible.  Do not use so much oil that the bag becomes soppy.

Remove the duck from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking to allow it to come to room temperature.

Use a large orange to stuff the duck.  You have to use a firm hand to push the wedges inside the body cavity instead of just placing them inside.  This approach helps to build up the body and make it fuller.

Tie the legs together.  This also helps to puff up the duck.  It will come out looking round and full as ducks have a tendency to flatten when roasted.

Be sure to seal the bag well by folding the ends of the bag and stapling it securely.  You don’t want any of the heat to escape from the bag while cooking.  This is technique allows the duck to cook quickly while still remaining moist.

The rule for cooking a duck using this paper bag method is 75% of the typical cooking time, approximately 15 minutes/pound.  A 5-lb duck roasts for 75 minutes and then we broil for 15 minutes.

When removing the paper bag, there will be lots of duck drippings on the bottom of the bag.  Be careful with this as it’s extremely hot.  If you’d like to keep it, dump it into a bowl and use it to make gravy, etc.

Duck fat sizzles and splatters like crazy.  During the final broiling stage (last 15 minutes) the duck fat will splatter everywhere and even smoke.  This is why we don’t place the duck to close to the heating elements.  Be extra careful when handling the roasting tray after this step.  I typically turn-off the oven, let the duck and pan cool for about 5-7 minutes before removing from the oven.

Lastly, it’s always important to let a duck rest for at least 15 minutes to seal in the juices before carving.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

5 lb duck
2 Tbsp salt for washing duck

for the Marinade
2 inch section of ginger, grated (approximately 1 Tbsp)
4 garlic gloves, crushed (approximately 1 Tbsp)
zest of 1 large orange (approximately 1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

for Inside the Duck
1 large orange, cut into wedges
2 1-inch sections of ginger, smashed
4 garlic cloves smashed
3 green scallions

for the Glaze
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp 5-spice powder
1 Tbsp frozen orange juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Other Items
1 large paper grocery bag
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 bamboo skewer
2 12-inch lengths of twine
clear tape
large roasting tray

Directions

Grate ginger, zest orange and crush garlic.  Place in a small bowl.  Add remaining marinade ingredients and combine together forming a soft paste.

Remove neck, giblets, etc. from inside the duck and discard.  Sprinkle salt on outside and inside of duck and rub into the skin.  Rinse with duck with cool water and shake off excess.  Pat duck thoroughly dry with paper towels.

Trim off excess skin, fat and tail.  Using the tip of a sharp paring skin, cut small slits in the skin without piercing the meat.  (Do this all over the duck.)

Place the duck in a baking dish.  Drizzle Vodka 5-Spice Marinade on both sides of the duck and rub into the skin.  Smear 1 tsp of marinade inside the duck.  Spread remaining marinade on the duck coating it evenly.  Allow to marinate in refrigerator overnight uncovered.

The next day, remove duck from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while continuing with next steps.

Lower oven rack to lowest position.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat paper grocery bag completely with peanut oil and allow to rest while continuing with next steps.

To make a trussing needle, break off a 6-inch section of the bamboo skewer starting at the pointed tip.  Place twine along the skewer starting about 2 inches from the tip.  Wrap clear tape around the twine and skewer in a downward spiral.  Twist the tape to make sure it’s securely fastened onto the skewer.

Cut the remainder of the zested orange into small wedges.  Cut the green onions into 3-inch lengths and smash the garlic and ginger.  Stuff the body cavity with these ingredients.  (Use a firm hand to push everything inside the duck.)

Use the trussing needle to sew the opening closed.  Pull twine taut and then cut off the bamboo needle. Tuck the remaining twine inside the duck  Tie the legs together.

Place oiled paper bag on the roasting tray.  Place duck inside the bag positioning it toward the back of the bag but not touching the paper in the back or on the sides.  Fold edges of the bag up and staple shut.

Bake in oven per the following guidelines:  15 minutes per pound of duck.  (A 5-pound duck bakes for approximately 75 minutes.)

While the duck is roasting prepare the glaze by combining all listed ingredients.

Remove roasting pan from oven.  Carefully cut paper bag, releasing the steam inside.  Remove paper bag and discard.  Place duck directly on the roasting rack.

Adjust oven rack to one level higher and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Brush duck with generous amounts of glaze.  Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Yields: 4 servings

Roast Duck Slices (Vit Quay) | recipe fron runawayrice.com

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Essential Dipping Sauces (Nuoc Cham)

Here’s a trio of delicious dipping sauces to serve with your favorite spring rolls, lettuce wraps, sandwiches, etc… The sauces can also be used as salad dressings or as meat marinades.  The Honey Lemongrass Lime goes great with chicken or fish.  The Hoisin Sesame Ginger is amazing with pork.  The Spicy Peanut which seems to be everyone’s favorite goes with just about everything.  I even add it to stir frys and noodles.  Which one is your favorite?

Watch the video below for instructions.

Honey Lemongrass Lime Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemongrass paste
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions

Put all ingredients into a bowl or large measuring cup.  Using a hand blender, combine everything together for 1 minute.  Pour into dipping bowls and serve.

Yields: 1 cup

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp chili paste
2 tsp crushed peanuts

Directions

Add all ingredients into a small saucepan except the crushed peanuts.  Over low heat, stir until peanut butter is melted and thoroughy combined with the other ingredients.  The sauce will be drippy but will thicken once it cools.  Pour into dipping bowls. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts and serve.

Yields: 1 cup

Hoisin Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions

Put all ingredients into a bowl or large measuring cup.  Using a hand blender, combine everything together for 1 minute.  Pour into dipping bowls.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Yields: 1 cup

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Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup (Che Troi Nuoc)

This warm dessert is by far one of my favorite treats.  The slightly chewy, sticky dough with its mealy bean filling and oh-so-sweet ginger syrup is a heavenly combination.  This decadently sweet dessert brings back fond childhood memories for me.  My Mom made this every year around Tet/Lunar New Year and since I had it just once a year, it was really special.  Even now, I hold-out and only make it once a year.  But seriously, I could eat this every day! 🙂

This recipe is really simple thanks to the aid of my rice cooker, a wonderful shortcut tool.  (I only drag out my big multi-tiered steamer when it’s absolutely needed.)  A lot of people ask me why I don’t roll all of the balls and then boil them instead of doing each one individually.  Answer:  I love to multi-task!  Ok, that’s true but the real answer is that this dough is too soft and sticky.  If you let the balls sit, they will ooze and lose their shape so it’s easier to roll one at a time and boil.  I share more tips below.  I hope you love this dessert as much as I do.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

Dough:
2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water

Filling:
1/3 cup dry peeled split mung bean = 1 cup hydrated beans
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar

Ginger Syrup:
1-inch fresh ginger
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups water

Coconut Sauce:
1-5.6 oz can coconut milk
1/2 can water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp tapioca starch + 2 Tbsp water

Directions

Rinse mung beans several times with water and soak beans overnight.

In a large bowl combine flour and water and knead until a soft dough forms.  If the dough isn’t sticking together add 1 Tbsp of water at a time.  The dough should be soft and moist and resemble bread dough.   Knead dough for  2-3 minutes.   Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter.

Rinse and drain mung beans.  Put beans in the rice cooker along with salt.  Spread beans evenly on the bottom of cooker.  Add water.  Close rice cooker lid and set to cook.  As soon as the button on the rice cooker pops up (approximately 20 minutes), open lid.  Using a flat spoon, mash the beans until you no longer see the individual beans.  The beans should look like mashed potatoes.  Add sugar and combine well.  Scoop the mashed beans onto a plate and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.  It should still be warm for this next step.  Take 1 teaspoon of bean and roll it between your palms to form a ball.  Continue rolling until you run out of beans.  (Tip:  When your palms become sticky, rinse them with just a bit of water.)

Peel ginger and slice into 1/4-inch thick coins.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and brown sugar.  When the syrup just starts to boil, add ginger.  Cover pot, turn heat to low and let the syrup simmer on the back burner.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium.  Take 1 Tbsp of dough and flatten slightly to form a patty.  Place a mung bean ball in the center of the dough.  Gently work the dough around the bean ball.  Pinch dough together to seal.  Gently, roll the ball in the palm of your hand, lightly squeezing dough to form a ball shape.  Now roll the ball between the palms of your hands just a few times to finish off the shape.  (Tip:  You don’t want to use this motion the entire time for making the balls.  This introduces too much air and will cause the balls to explode when boiling.)  Gently drop the ball into the boiling water.  Continue rolling the balls.

When the balls float to the top, they are cooked.  Use a slotted spoon to scoop and transfer them into the ginger syrup.  Continue until all balls are rolled and cooked.  If you have any leftover dough, make little dough balls. (I love these!)  Once all balls are cooked, simmer in the ginger syrup for another 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix tapioca starch and water to form a gravy and set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, water, sugar and salt.  Stir to combine.  When coconut milk just starts to bubble, add gravy and stir quickly for 2-3 minutes.  Once sauce thickens remove from heat.  (Tip:  Don’t let the coconut milk get too hot before you add the gravy or it will clump.  If this happens, you can strain the coconut sauce to remove the lumps.)

Serve this dessert warm topped with coconut sauce and sesame seeds.

Servings:  15 balls

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