Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mini Alaskan Crab Tacos

A more correct title for this post might be Vietnamese crab salad mini tacos, for that is essentially what these are.  The filling is slightly adapted from goi buoi--Vietnamese pomelo and crab salad--with some avocado crema, red cabbage and sliced red onions.  The shells are fried sui gow skins, an idea I got from Andrea Nguyen, who writes that she borrowed it from Trader Vic's.  Check out her recipe for duck tacos, which includes a helpful video on frying the shells.  This is the sort of appetizer that looks elegant and tastes delicious, but can be prepared ahead of time and assembled at the last minute.  An even simpler presentation would be not to fold the skins and serve these as mini crab tostadas. However, since I'm submitting this in conjunction with a promotion of Alaskan fish tacos, I went with the taco version.

While I tend to focus more on Southeast Asian food, when the folks behind the Alaska fish taco promotion asked if I would be interested in doing some related posts, I agreed.  I don't know why they contacted me.  Perhaps it's because I submitted a pepes ikan taco recipe for the contest they had last year.  Maybe they've done their research and know there's a photo of me holding a 12 pound Coho salmon that I caught on the Tsiu River in Alaska in the original Rumah Makan Murni in Cepu, Central Java.  In any case, I like fish tacos and would love to go back to Alaska to do some fishing, so I agreed.  I should point out that the folks behind the promotion also gave me some gift cards to buy some Alaskan fish and fish tacos in exchange for me doing some posts.

 Mini Crab Tacos with Avocado Crema

Crab Pomelo Salad
1 cup cooked Alaskan crab meat
1 carrot, grated
1 pomelo, peeled, segmented, and crumbled (I wouldn't recommend substituting grapefruit. Although pomelo and grapefruit are similar, the taste is different enough that I don't think this would work with grapefruit.)
2 TBS minced rau ram (daun laksa) or mint (optional)
2 TBS minced cilantro

thinly sliced red onion
thinly sliced red cabbage
Nuoc Cham
juice of 1 lime
2 TBS water
2 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS sugar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 red chili, seeded and finely minced (or a splash of sriracha)

Avocado Crema
1 ripe avocado
juice from half a lime
2 TBS Mexican crema (can substitute sour cream)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 TBS cilantro, minced
salt, to taste

Pot sticker or sui gow skins
oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine the  crab, carrot, pomelo, rau ram, and cilantro.  Make the nuoc cham by mixing together the ingredients in a jar and shaking well to dissolve the sugar.  Dress the salad lightly with several tablespoons of the nuoc cham.

Remove the flesh from the avocado.  Mash it up with the lime juice, crema, garlic, and cilantro.  Add salt to taste.

Fry the sui gow skins in hot oil about 1/3 inch deep.  Use tongs to hold the shells open while frying.  You need to keep them open enough so you can put the filling in.  The shells will remain crisp for at least one day if kept in an air tight container.  Andrea Nguyen has a helpful video showing how to fry the skins

When you have fried all the shells, you can assemble the tacos.  Rinse the sliced red onion in cold water.  Place some cabbage (if using) in each shell.  Then spoon in some of the crab salad.  Add a little avocado crema and top with several slices of the red onion. 

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