It has been awhile hasn’t it?
I make no excuses! Life’s too short for that. But I’d just like to say…it’s good to be back. And, hopefully, with a little more consistency. I make no promises though. But if you stick around I would be really, really happy. There is still more of this road to be traveled together, through our collective kitchens, cooking, eating, enjoying, discovering. I’d love to traverse that road with you.
So…I thought that instead of explanations and ruminations, we could just have a quick catch-up. I’ll let you know what I’ve been up to and, if you so wish, in the comments below, you can let me know what you’ve been up to. I really do want to know!
And, of course, after all this, a recipe for you. A recipe I have been sitting on for some time, which I had wanted to share with you since last year (gasp!). A recipe I now feel I “owe” you. A recipe I hope you will love as much as I do.
But first…some catch-up…
I’m, on the whole, doing fine. Can’t complain. Nothing outside the usual, general busyness that surrounds, and sometimes engulfs, working mothers.
Little C is now in 1st grade with all the “big girl” things that entails: math homework, clubs, play dates, opinions, and a brand new unicorn trolley bag of which she is very proud.
Little H is in play school, with all that entails: park days, scrapes, play yard scuffles, refusing to go on stage for school programs, hilarious class photos, and wearing his Captain America costume to school.
Big C is, as always, my rock and safe harbor. Strong and steadfast, able to change light bulbs, fix toys, and solve automobile problems in a single bound. I love our unglamorous life, Netflix and iMovies and popcorn in bed, chicken dinners and wrangling our two gremlins, date nights at our favorite sushi bar, little family trips when we can manage it. So predictable, so “regular”…but it is this predictability and constancy that I love so much. It is amongst these dependable stalwarts that we have built our life.
Work is fine, very busy, may times stressful and nerve-wracking, but fine nonetheless. I keep crazy hours because we cater to international teams, but I get to work in slippers, see my kids, and have my own personal bathroom…so it has definitely got its perks.
Family is great. Aside from my own little unit, we’ve had a big family reunion recently…with matching shirts and all. My brother has become a father and my heart is busting with pride and joy and happy tears. My mother continues to be as fabulous as ever, for which I am very thankful.
I recently went on an amazing getaway with my girlfriends. Amazing not just for the travel and food and all that jazz, but also (and more so) for being on an adventure with these girls that I love dearly. Despite seeing them here regularly, there is something about being away from it all, just us, like we were the crazy, carefree girls we were back in high school (and university). It’s always good to be reminded that the crazy, carefree girl is still in there, just waiting to be summoned.
As always, my time in the kitchen, feeding my family but also feeding my own love affair with food. If you follow me on Instagram you will see it with more regularity. And if all goes well, you will see it here to.
Red Curry Crab
- Canola oil (or any mildly flavored vegetable oil)
- 1 red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1-2 stalks lemongrass, white to light green parts only, sliced diagonally
- 5-6 slices galangal (or ginger if you can’t get your hands on galangal)
- 2 cilantro roots (clean them very well!)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons aligue (crab fat)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced thickly
- 10 oz. (1 lb. or 454 grams) crabmeat
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice (lime or calamansi juice will work as well)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
- Optional: a pinch of sugar, chili
- Palapa Maguindanaon
- 3-4 stalks green onions, sliced diagonally
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, midrib removed, leaf part sliced very thinly
- 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves picked
– Bring a pot to medium high heat. When the pot is hot add a couple of swirls of canola oil. When the oil is hot add the onion and sauté, stirring, until the onion starts to turn translucent.
– Add the lemongrass, galangal (or ginger), cilantro roots, and garlic to the onions in the pot. Sauté, stirring, until everything starts getting fragrant. It will smell amazing!
– Add the curry paste and stir. Sauté, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Add the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring until the curry paste is thoroughly incorporated in the coconut milk.
– Add the aligue and kaffir lime leaves to the pot and stir in.
– Add the crabmeat, lemon juice, and fish sauce, and gently stir into the curry. You want to make sure everything is evenly distributed, but at the same time taking care not to crush the crabmeat too much.
– Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add more fish sauce for saltiness, lemon juice for tang, and a little sugar for sweetness. If you feel you need more heat add in a chili or two. The red curry paste is usually enough heat for us, but if you need more feel free!
– Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, just so the crab absorbs all the flavors. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking or burning. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the herbs and palapa.
I love this dish! I know I probably say that about every dish I share but really, if you like Asian flavors, and enjoy a little spice, you will love it too. I got the inspiration for this from a swanky dinner by a super famous chef. No, not a dinner I attended but one I saw on my Instagram feed. Yes, there is definitely inspiration to be had from the sidelines! That is where I get a lot of mine. Anyway, he made some kind of crab curry on rice and just the thought of it appealed to me so much that I had to make my own version (which was more like from scratch, seeing as to how I didn’t even know what his version entailed).
I used Thai red curry and coconut milk here because these are flavors I enjoy, although I imagine this would also be excellent as a green or yellow curry. I used canned crab as I have finally found a great purveyor! Savaria Blue Crab catches, cooks, and cans their crab in Bacolod and it is very fresh. Leagues away from any canned crab I’ve tasted. You can find them at the Salcedo Saturday Market. I added some aligue (crab fat) because I figured this would give the dish that extra richness you would get if you used fresh crabs. And also because, let’s be frank, I’d find any excuse to chuck in some taba ng talangka!
The garnishes here are important but you do not need to limit yourself to what I’ve used here. Experiment with your favorite herbs and aromatics. All Asian herbs would be wonderful here. You can also add crispy things like fried onions, fried chicken skin, or crushed chicharon (surf and turf!).
Palapa is a garnish/condiment from the Mindanao region of the country. There are different versions, depending on where in Mindanao specifically they are from. This one is made with ground toasted coconut and aromatics. It is amazing, especially if you love coconut like me. I can eat it just on hot rice! You can find it in Ritual (Languages International building, Pasay Road, Makati…@ritualph on Instagram).
Serve this with additional garnishes on the side, along with fish sauce and lemon (or lime or calamansi) so your diners can adjust their individual servings to their taste. You can also offer extra chili for those that want to dial up the heat.
So…are we all caught up? Let me know what’s been happening with you as well! Would love to chat. I have something exciting already planned for over here…but until then, leave a comment below, drop me a line, or follow me on Instagram so we can have fun over there!