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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Chinese take-away treat.

It was Sunday night that I treated myself to a Chinese take-away. This is a very rare occasion for me because I find it difficult to justify the cost and end up going to the supermarket or local greengrocer to make something myself for a fraction of the price.

The village I live in is blessed with two Indian restaurants, two Chinese take-aways, an Italian restaurant and a whole host of other food based shops and cafés so I’m not exactly short of choices.

However, I had been working hard all week and had just been paid so I splashed out on some chicken and sweet corn soup (so yummy that it could develop into an MSG addiction), a carton of egg fried rice and some tasty sounding king prawns in garlic, ginger and spring onion. To this I ordered a portion of salty crispy seaweed for a bit of green crunch. Of course I went for the banana fritters too, one simply has to. It’s not a Chinese take-away without nana fritters, so sweet they make your teeth itch. The soup was very nice in a piping hot way and I ate about half the free bag of prawn crackers that came with it. The Happy Garden  take-away place I go to in the village always go a bit mad with the onions so the ‘king prawns in garlic and spring onion’ should have had the warning ‘bulked out with lots of onions’ added to the listing. The bill came to about thirteen pounds and as a little reward for my hard work I felt it was worth it.

After my meal there was quite a lot of rice left and an equal amount of crispy seaweed and I was determined not to just throw them away. I also intended to use a cooked crab that I had purchased from Tesco the following day and thought that the three items would go well together.

Monday is one of my days off and after spending the day shopping in Nottingham city centre I came home late afternoon and got cracking on preparing the meal by pulling the crab apart. This was a first for me and I checked out a few videos on the internet to get an idea what to do. I was surprised that the crab meat was mostly an orangey brown colour with the white meat in the claws.

Inspired by a glass of red wine from my neighbour I decided to make crab fish cakes with some mashed potato. Never made them before so I improvised by mashing the potatoes and mixing in the crab meat. Foolishly I thought that would suffice in binding the mixture together and after shaping the mix I heated some oil in the pan and set the two fishcakes to brown either side. Previously I re-heated the egg fried rice in some hot water. When I went to turn the fishcakes they just fell apart and ended up a mushy mess in the bottom of the frying pan. Retrospectively I should perhaps have bound them with an egg.

Inspired by two more glasses of  Côtes du Rhône 2006 wine of my own, I made the decision to make the best of my error and having drained the egg fried rice I added it to the pan, warmed the mixture through and served it to myself as ‘ egg fried rice and buttery crab mash’. As a garnish I sprinkled the crispy seaweed over the substantial dish. Actually, it tasted really nice and, inspired by my efforts, I enjoyed another glass of red wine and settled down to watch Rick Stein on dvd.

‘Dear Rick, as you are a seafood lover I wondered if you would like my recipe for fall apart crab fishcakes? I call it ‘egg fried rice, buttery crab mash and crispy seaweed’. My fee is...


Ken Devine said...

My mouth actually watered as I read this. It looks like you rescued it well.
Whenever we have a chinese there is always sufficient for the next day. I'm feeling a midweek treat coming on:)

Peter said...

An enjoyable read Phil. Unusual way of reheating the rice. For some reason I thought you lived in Basford - is that a villaaaage?



Gailsman said...

You do eat well. Beeston Has a great Chinese take away called Ko Sing, and for a curry, we always go to Sharma's.
Like you, we try not to have too many take aways, beside the cost there is the fat factor to think about!

Karen said...

I bet your crab, like mine, was a female & the orangey bits were the eggs (edible, so not to worry). They can be a bit fiddly to prepare, & it took me many attempts before i was brave enough to ignore instructions in cook books/video's/leaflets & just go by instinct. All i seem to disguard are the gills (Dead Man's Fingers) & any brown meat near the mouth which I hope will be it's stomach. I've never been ill from eating crab, so I must get it right. Actually, lobster is easier to prepare, less strange looking bits.

And I'm happy to know that someone else makes fish-cakes like me, which collapse. It did sound a tasty meal though.

Have you tried reheating the rice in a microwave?

Karen said...

Had another thought about the crab...did you remove all the delicious white meat from the centre of the body....the part the legs are attached to? it's hellishly fiddly, but contains masses of white meat, though you have to sift through it to remove all the bits of shell.