Living in a foreign country by yourself, it’s not easy.
Lonely, isolated, neglected and abandoned are just some of the feelings that you might experience if you’re planning on doing what I did 5 years ago. Five years of constantly looking for somebody to replace your family that you’ve left back home.
“Mum, why you never come visiting me?” I kept asking her, and she always had the same disappointing answer, “I can’t come now… I’m very busy… I don’t have money now…” or even sometimes she gave me a glance of light and said “Soon my dear, soon…”
And then it happened, my mum called me and told me that she booked a ticket for the land down under, the land where the animals are weird and the beer never runs out. The landwhere the water goes in the other direction down the drain, and where criminals and gold diggers came two centuries ago searching for a new opportunity. The land that I love so much… Australia.
WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!! Finally!!!! There are so many things I would like to show her, my college, the Harbour Bridge, fish market, botanic gardens and so so SO much more.
After a few days to let my mum readjust her jetlag (mind you that it takes you about 30 hours to get here from Israel) and getting over the fact that she is actually here, I decided to take her first to the Sydney’s fish market to try everything that we can put our hands on.
Getting to the fish market is quite easy and parking is always available for a relative cheap fare. Only $3 an hr.
As soon as we walked in, we ran to Christie’s seafood, which personally I think has the best seafood in the fish market. The owner Wayne I know from long time ago while I was working for the Mercure hotel and always provides me with the best quality treasures from the ocean.
Huge king crabs, amazingly bright red lobsters, marrons, abalones, and some angry mud crabs. You know, I was never able to pick up those crabs with my bare hands. It doesn’t matter that their claws are tied, and they are really tired from the journey that they just went through, still those dodgy pink rubber bands around their claws and the ANGRY look in their eyes intimidate me and I keep my distance.
My mum mostly liked the prawns. She tasted a bit of calamari as well but other than that, anything that looks back at her before she bites or belongs to the mollusks family does not go in her mouth. As for me, the more the merrier.
The only thing I really wanted her to try is the soft shell crab, and if you never tried these ones, then consider this as a MUST!
Soft shell crabs are normally blue crabs coming from the USA or mangrove crabs coming from Asia. Teose crabs are caught just when they are molting their shells, which leaves us with nothing crunchy or hard to bite on. Even the powerful claws are soft as butter. Absolutely divine, with the right touch and species, which as you can guess I will tell you very shortly.
Back to my mum, after feasting her stomach with 3 half dozen BBQ prawns she felt that it’s enough, and does not need any more protein for next year.
So we bought a few huge pacific oysters for the road and left the market happy and full.
Now back to the Soft shell crab, and best way to cook. Deep frying is the most common way, in a good batter or even just dusted with flour, served with a fresh salad or even as a condiment for a main dish.
So here is my recipe for it:
1 soft shell crab. You can buy it frozen in the fish market.
100 g flour
20 g flour for dusting the crab before dipping in the batter
50 g corn flour
1 whole egg.
Pinch of sumac
For the salad dressing:
70 ml extra virgin olive oil
20 g of raw sugar, grounded.
Salt and pepper.
Now, to cook the soft shell crab you better have a deep fryer at home, but if you don’t, its ok, a deep pan with lots of oil will do the job just as good.
Mix the flours together. Now slowly add the soda water while you are whisking it in, until its forms a thick batter that coats your finger but does not stay on in.Tthen add the sumac and the egg and whisk till smooth. Rest in the fridge for about 10-15min.
In the meantime, you can make the dressing. Now just squeeze the lime and mix well with all the rest of the ingredients. Make sure you taste it to see that it is not too sweet or too sour. It should be balanced perfectly.
The crab is very easy to be cleaned. All you need to do is gently remove the gills that are located under the head. The side of the head is open upwards and there you will see a grayish fiber and rough gills. Just remove it and gently wash it under cold water.
Cut the crab in to 4 and dust with flour. Then dip in the batter and BAM>> into the hot oil. The best way to know when the crab is cooked is when it floats on top of the oil.
When it’s ready, just take it out of the oil the dry on a tray. Then mix your salad and top it up with the crab. Dress generously, but NOT TOO MUCH. With over dressing, the crab will lose his beautiful crunchiness and won’t be as nice.
This will be the perfect lunch munchies on a sunny Sunday afternoon with a glass of sauvignon Blanc.
Enjoy the fruits of the sea.