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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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Stir-Fried Beef and Potatoes (Bo Xao Khoai Tay)

Have dinner ready in 30 minutes or less with this easy stir-fry.

If you’re busy like me you often don’t have time to plan the week’s meals in advance.  As a result, you may find yourself roaming the grocery store aisles looking for inspiration and trying to figure out what to make that’s healthy and fast.  Well, the next time you come up short on meal ideas, give this recipe a try.  This Stir-Fried Beef and Potatoes dish is the perfect 30-minute meal.  From start to finish you can whip up this tasty stir-fry in 30 minutes or less.  My not-so-secret ingredient is frozen French fried potatoes.  They are really convenient and cut the prep time in half.  For even more time-savings, buy the beef already cut into thin strips.  Add a salad or a simple soup and dinner is ready.  Enjoy!


Watch the video below for instructions.


Ingredients

Meat and Marinade:

3/4 lb beef (flank or sirloin)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Sauce
:

3 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cornstarch


Stir-Fry
:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (for cooking potatoes)

3 medium potatoes or

1 1/2 lbs frozen French fried potatoes

1 tsp vegetable oil (for stir-fry)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 medium red onion

1 green onion

Directions

Cut beef into bite-sized slices.  In a medium bowl, add the sliced beef, minced garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, vegetable oil and ground black pepper.  Mix together working the marinade evenly into the meat.   Allow to marinate while continuing with the next steps.

In a small bowl combine water, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch.  Stir everything together and set sauce aside for now.

Cut the red onion into thin slices.  Cut green onions into 1-inch long strips.

If using fresh potatoes, remove the skin and then cut into strips about 3-inches long and 1/2-inch thick.  Boil the potatoes for 5-6 minutes on the stove.  Alternatively, place the potatoes in a bowl and cover with water.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on High for 5 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.

If using frozen potatoes, thaw at room temperature or in the microwave.

Heat a large wok over High heat and when hot add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Add the potatoes and pan-fry for 7-8 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Transfer to a clean plate.

Heat the same wok over Medium High heat and when hot add 1 tsp vegetable oil and the minced garlic.  Stir-fry for 15 seconds.  Add the red onions and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Add the beef and stir-fry until it’s slightly pink, approximately 2 minutes.  Add the potatoes and sauce.  Toss together combining everything well.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until beef is cooked to your preference.

Turn off the heat, freshly ground black pepper and green onions.

Serve hot!

Yields: 4 servings

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Sizzling Shaken Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

I love this salad with the hot savory beef, slightly spicy watercress, fresh tomatoes and tangy pickled red onions.  The combination is absolutely mouth-watering and it’s such a snap to make.  Try it as a cold salad too; it’s really good!  As long as the steak is cooked properly (see tips below), it will still be tender even if served cold.

Selecting the right cut of beef can make or break this dish so choose a tender cut.  My favorite choice is flank steak for this dish.  If you want to splurge, filet mignon is the way to go.  I’ve used various cuts of sirloin in the past but find it to be a bit tough and not the best option.  When cutting the meat, make sure to keep the pieces bit-sized, approximately  3/4 inch cubes.  In this recipe, we cook the beef really fast to a rare/medium rare and so need the pieces to be small.

Another tip is to cook the beef in small batches and over very high heat.  Have you ever noticed when stir-frying a big batch of beef the meat juices seeping out leaving the meat dry and leathery?  This is mostly the results of cooking too much beef in the wok at the same time and cooking it for too long.  The key is to cook in smaller batches so there’s more hot pan in contact with the meat.  We also cook the beef very quickly over very high heat effectively searing the meat and sealing in the juices.

The recipe would not be complete without mentioning a little bit about the name.  Some words are lost in translation and the name of this dish is a good example.  A lot of people refer to this dish as “Shaking Beef”.  Of course, the “shaking” refers to the way we cook the beef.  We “shake” the pan moving the beef back and forth.  If you’re really good, you can toss and flip the beef instead of stir frying with chopsticks.  (Good luck with that!)  The word “shaking” makes me giggle because I imagine a quivering cow scared for his life because he’s about to become dinner.  I call this dish Sizzling “Shaken” Beef.  Does that mean the cow is already disturbed and agitated?  Like I said, lost in translation.  Perhaps the appropriate word for this cooking method is sauté and we should call it “Sautéed Beef”.  Well, whatever the name, call it delicious!  I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1 lb flank steak or filet mignon

Marinade:
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper

Salad:
1 bunch watercress
1 ripe tomato

Pickled Onions:
1/2 red onion
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp distilled vinegar
1 Tbsp water

Cooking:
3 tsp vegetable oil
3 tsp minced garlic

Directions

Cut the beef into strips about finger width and then cut into small bite-sized pieces, about 3/4 inch cubes.  Put into a medium bowl.

To marinate the beef, add sugar, minced garlic, vegetable oil, Vodka 5-Spice Marinade, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and black pepper.  Combine well.  Cover and allow to marinate while continuing with next steps.

Wash watercress thoroughly and shake off excess water.  Pluck just tender greens discarding the tougher stems.  Slice tomato into thin round slices.  Place tomatoes on a large plate and layer watercress on top.

Cut the onion into thin round slices.  Separate the onion rings.  Place in a small bowl and add sugar, vinegar and water.  Toss together until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.

Heat a medium wok over high heat.  (Make sure the wok is really hot.)  Add 1 tsp vegetable oil plus 1 tsp minced garlic and stir fry quickly for 5 seconds.  Add 1/3 of the beef and stir fry quickly for 2-3 minutes for rare-medium rare.  Optionally move the wok quickly back and forth to “shake” the beef.  Flick the wok to toss the beef.  Remove beef from wok and put on a separate plate.  Repeat the process for the remaining 2 batches.

To serve, spoon beef on top of watercress and tomato salad.   Add pickled onions on top.  Serve hot!

Yields:  2-4 servings

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Lemongrass Beef over Rice Noodles (Bun Bo Xao)

This popular Vietnamese dish is wonderfully fragrant and tasty–best of all, it’s easy to make! The lemongrass adds great flavor to the beef and the generous use of fresh herbs and vegetables makes this dish so light and refreshing it’s often called a “salad”. If you’re short on time, buy frozen minced lemongrass at your local Asian grocery store. I also found it in a squeezable tube (like toothpaste) in the produce section of my grocery store. If you’re watching your carbs, omit the noodles and double up on the veggies. Yum! Making dinner just for two? This recipe is portioned for 2 servings or for one really hungry person. Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1/2 pound beef flap meat or flank steak
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp olive oil for marinade + 1 Tbsp olive oil for stir fry
1 stalk lemongrass (2 Tbsp minced)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 shallot thinly sliced

3 cups cooked rice vermicelli
1/2 cup each of fresh herbs: mint, Thai basil and cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup cucumbers thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/4 cup pickled carrots
1/2 cup fish sauce dipping sauce

Directions

Slice beef into thin strips about 3 inches long by 1/4-inch thick. Combine meat with fish sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, olive oil and marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Mince lemongrass by hand or use a food processor.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to pan. Add garlic and shallots and stir fry for 10-15 seconds. Add lemongrass and stir fry for another 10-15 seconds. Add marinated beef into pan and stir fry until the meat is the desired doneness. Add 1/2 cup of bean sprouts and stir fry for another minute.

To serve, spoon the stir fried beef over rice noodles. Sprinkle peanuts on top and garnish with pickled carrots. Serve with fresh herbs, shredded lettuce, cucumber and bean sprouts along with fish sauce dipping sauce.

Yields: 2 servings

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