How to make Mark's chilli mud crab with coconut sambal

It’s Mud Crab Madness in Brissy! And we’re putting three epic mud crab specials on the menu –  chilli mud crab with coconut rice and sambal, salt and pepper mud crab with shallot and ginger, and wood-roasted mud crab with charred greens, head mustard mayo and dukkah spiced flat bread.  Here, chef Mark LaBrooy takes us through how to cook up a chilli mud crab in your home kitchen…


Chilli Mud Crab with Coconut Rice and Sambal

“This dish is spicy, sweet and sour in the best way. Don’t wear a white shirt because it will go everywhere! We like to use blue swimmer crab for this dish as they are sweet and easy to pop open, but you can use whatever you like. If mud crabs are reasonably priced, that would be the dream.”


Serves 4


You’ll need…
For the chilli paste
– 50ml olive oil
– ¼ stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
– 4 long red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
– 50g ginger, peeled
– 4 garlic cloves
– 3 eshallots, cut in half
– ½ bunch coriander root, roughly chopped
– 60g palm sugar or coconut sugar
– 45ml fish sauce
– 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
For the crabs
– 2 tbls olive oil or coconut oil
– 2 mud crabs, cleaned and cut into 4 (clays busted open with the back of a knife)
– 400ml tin coconut milk

1. First, we need to make the chilli paste – this is what we’ll cook the crabs in. Take a large saucepan and place it on high heat, then add the oil and lemongrass.
2. Add the chilli, ginger, garlic, eschallots and coriander root to the saucepan, stirring constantly. The ingredients should start to caramelize quite quickly.
3. Add the sugar and keep cooking until the chillies become soft. Then add the fish sauce and cherry tomatoes – break the tomatoes down using the back of your wooden spoon.
4. Keep stirring until all ingredients are soft, then blend the entire mix into a rough paste. Set aside.
5. Take a heavyset frying pan on high heat, add the olive or coconut oil, chilli paste and crabs. Fry the crabs off in the pan for a minute, making sure stir constantly.
6. Add the coconut milk and put the lid on for a minute or so to help steam the crabs. Cook for 5 minutes, then serve.
7. Divide crab and sauce between four bowls, with handful of sambal over the top.

TIP: Be sure not to overcook the crabs, otherwise they will start to breakdown and turn into mush!



You’ll need…
– 2 cups desiccated coconut
– juice of 3 lemons
– ½ bunch coriander, roughly chopped
– ½ red onion, finely sliced
– ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
– 1 tsp chilli powder
– ½ tsp salt flakes
– ½ tsp Maldivian fish, finely chopped

1. In a bowl, mix the desiccated coconut, lemon juice, coriander, red onion, cherry tomatoes, chilli powder and salt.
2. Using your hands, work the mixture until it is well combined into a sambal.



You’ll need…
– 4 cups long-grain rice
– 6 cups water
– pinch salt flakes
– 400ml coconut milk
– ¼ bunch shallots, finely sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan forced.
2. Wash the rice in a strainer and add it to a deep baking dish. Add the water and salt and cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
3. When you take it out, fork the rice to aerate it and evenly distribute the coconut milk over the top. Sprinkle with the shallots and serve.


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