Banh cua chien: crab fritters
A nice crab finger food.
Aka bánh cua chiên if I didn’t screw up my Vietnamese… Grandma showed me how to do this–then I proceeded to forget most of what she’d said, and this is my attempt to recreate the recipe at home…
- 240g crab meat, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp salt (or 1 tsp nước mắm)
- 1 tsp sugar
- Sprinkling of pepper (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 egg
- 50g batter mix (mine says bột bánh cóng. Sometimes sold as tempura mix or batter mix in Asian markets, and basically some combination of rice and wheat flour and thickeners such as cornflour or tapioca starch. A quick googling using my newly-found Vietnamese-fu tells me that you can get the batter mix by mixing four fifths rice flour and one fifth wheat flour, so that'd work out as 40g rice flour, 10g wheat flour and 1 tsp of cornstarch )
- 3 tblsp water
- 3 tblsp sweet soy sauce
- 2 tblsp water
- 1 tblsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp ground chili paste (tương ớt tỏi)
- 2-3 Thai bird chilies, cut into thin rings
- Fry the garlic and the shallots together for about 30s, until fragrant. Mix the crab, the salt, sugar, pepper and garlic/shallots together, and leave together for a bit. Taste a bit, and adjust salt/sugar if needed.
- Meanwhile, mix the egg, the batter mix and the water: the result should be a thickish dough. Add the crab mixture, and stir until well coated.
- Heat up about 3 tblsp. oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Take a tablespoon (NOT the round, deep ones you use for measuring, but the actual soup spoons that you use for eating. It's important to have something elongated and shallow), and scoop out from the mixture. Dump this in the wok. It'll be a bit messy at first, but then the heat will kick in, and the mixture will congeal together as it cooks. Repeat until the pan is full. Turn over after a few minutes, when the bottom part is golden. Fry on the other side.
- Drain on paper towels, and put the next batch in.
- The proper way to serve this is as a snack with the dipping sauce; however, you can also eat this with rice and some fried vegetables (we used peppers).
- Mix everything and let the mixture rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
 I’m aware there are different batter mixes for different dishes, but quite frankly, for the use I’m putting this to, this doesn’t matter much.