The Magic Porridge Pot, Chilli Crabs and Shrimp.

A quote from A.A. Milne. This reminds me of my friend from Belgium ( now New Zealand) ( and also himself). Whenever we stayed with each other, this is more or less what she would say!

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

And so that leads me to the Magic Porridge Pot. If you do not know the story, it is very simple, the cooking pot makes porridge until you tell it to stop, BUT if you forget to tell it, porridge will soon swamp the town.

And so it seems that this week, which for whatever reason, seems to have been incredibly busy, we have developed a Magic Egg Fried Rice Wok. What with International Cricket, International Rugby, golf, golf and more golf, cooking plans came and then went. I had defrosted baby crabs and some shell off large shrimp ( all bought from the Chinese supermarket) . So I quickly made the sauce for the Shrimp/crabs and put to one side. Sautéed the shrimp/ crabs and some vegetables, again put to one side, cooked some rice, chopped some vegetables for the rice, quickly made scrambled egg Chinese style and when cool put all into the refrigerator, before charging out to one of the above events.

Therefore it was very easy to assemble all upon our return. The only slight problem was, too much rice. ! I find it very difficult to gauge exactly how much I need , for plain and simple rice, not a problem, but for fried rice, oh so different. I rummage in the refrigerator, oh, there are some peppers, red and green, and look some celery, some spring onions, and what about some green beans chopped up, and the frozen peas, and of course the eggs. Consequently there is always too much, even when himself has persuaded himself that he should have seconds! Hence the extra is cooled and refrigerated. Until the next night, when running short of time, and there is ample Shrimp/crab combo left and don’t forget the rice, But, oops. not enough Rice. Consequently more plain rice is cooked, not too much, but then more vegetables are needed and of course more eggs. And so it continues. So just like the magic porridge pot!

I first had Chilli Crab in Singapore many years ago. It is rated at number 35 in the worlds list of iconic foods. And I could not agree more. There are many many restaurants in Singapore that make this dish, eat it outside and the scene is set. Singapore is a complete mish mash of cultures, Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Indian and don’t forget British, they are all there. Hua Yu Wee Seafood restaurant is in the garden along the east coast. Hawker stands also serve Chilli Crab, don’t turn your nose up at sitting on a plastic stool and eating in the street, it is the best way, and be prepared to get messy ( plastic aprons are usually provided.) For the longest time, one of my families favourite quick dinner was Oyster Omelette, this we first had again in Singapore at one of the hawker stands. Um Yummy. I am beginning to drool just thinking about Singaporean food.

Onto my version, traditionally it is just Chilli Crab or Chilli Shrimp, not the two combined, but as needs must I had not enough of one or the other.

All amounts are approximate.

  1. 500 grms each of Shrimp, de-veined and shelled, and of baby crabs ( both can be bought frozen in a chinese super market)
  2. 6 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  3. 4 ” fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  4. 3-5 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
  5. 1/2 cup chilli sauce
  6. small can tomato paste
  7. 1 tablespoon of honey
  8. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  9. 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed to a smooth paste with some water
  10. 1 cup, stock either chicken, fish or vegetable stock.
  11. oil for frying preferably sesame.
  12. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fry the crabs, in some hot oil until they turn pink all over. repeat with the shrimp. drain both on some paper towel. Put 1/4 cup of fresh oil into the wok add the garlic, ginger and chillies, then add the chilli sauce, the tomato paste, honey, soy sauce. Add the stock and cook for about three minutes. Stir thoroughly and then add the cornflour water mix. Taste, add salt and pepper, AND if not spicy enough for your taste, add some chilli paste. Garnish with some spring onions and serve with rice ( plain or fried).

 

A word of warning about cooked rice. I first heard about this when my mother was in a nursing home. She told me that they would no longer serve rice. In fact it was a little bit of Health and Safety gone mad. There is nothing to say that Rice can not be served to the sick and elderly. In the USA, when you have an upset stomach the cure is the BRAT diet. Brat = Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast!

What can be bad is the following

  • The NHS says that leftover rice can be bad for you.
  • Uncooked rice can contain spores that can survive when the rice is cooked.
  • If the rice stands at room temperature for too long, those spores turn into bacteria.
  • That in turn can cause food poisoning.
  • Store your rice as quickly as possible once you’re done eating it. Clet it cool and then refrigerate until ready to reheat. Make sure that it is throughly reheated and not just warmed. Covered in cling film and the Microwave is a good way and then again, use a wok, with very hot oil and cook well.

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