1 large mud crab (about 1 kg)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large mild red chillies, finely chopped
roughly chopped coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
¾ cup tomato ketchup
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
¼ cup white sugar
2 tbsp Chinese Chinkiang black vinegar (alternatively use apple cider or white vinegar)
If your mud crab is live it, place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then use a sharp knife to punch down through the crab’s head near the eyes.
To clean, lift the flap on the underside and pull off the top shell. Remove and discard the grey ‘gills’. Remove any dark gunk and rinse under running water.
Use a knife to cut the crab into manageable pieces. Use the back of the knife to crack the large claws and legs.
For the sauce, combine the ketchup, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, sugar, vinegar and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic and chillies and stir-fry for half a minute. Then add the sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the crab pieces and let them sit for a minute before tossing them in the sauce. Cover with a lid for about 5 minutes or until the crab is bright red and cooking through.
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle over coriander (if using). Serve with plenty of napkins for messy fingers!