AT A GLANCE
This curry is light and easy to prepare, and crab always goes down a treat. If you're averse to dispatching your own crab, buy a cooked one and skip the second step.
|01||For curry paste, drain and chop chillies, and dry-roast whole spices until fragrant (15-20 seconds). Cool briefly, then crush with a mortar and pestle. Add turmeric, garlic, galangal, lemongrass and a pinch of salt and pound to a coarse paste. Add shallot, shrimp paste, rind and chillies, and pound until smooth. Curry paste will keep frozen for 3 weeks.|
|02||Wash and despatch mud crabs humanely. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to the boil, drop in crabs and cook until they turn pink (13-14 minutes; pull a claw free and if the meat is still translucent, cook a little longer). Drain and set aside to cool briefly (about 10 minutes), then lift flap underneath the crab and pull off back shell. Discard gills and clean out yellow-brown tomalley. Cut crabs into quarters with a large sharp knife, then crack claws with the back of a knife and refrigerate until required.|
|03||Heat oil in a large wok until hot. Add curry paste and stir until fragrant (10-20 seconds). Add coconut milk and bring to the boil, then add chillies, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves, and simmer until well flavoured (2-4 minutes). Add crab and turn crab over in the sauce until warmed through (2-4 minutes). Scatter with ginger, Thai basil and extra kaffir lime and serve with steamed jasmine rice.|
Note Roasted shrimp paste is available from Asian grocers; to roast it yourself, wrap shrimp paste in foil and roast in a moderate oven until pungent (5-10 minutes).
DRY BUT FULL-BODIED AND FRUITY ROSÉ. , suggested by MAX ALLEN