There are quite a few variations on this theme, involving a little egg or even a splash of coconut milk. Either are really just to add richness, but add too much egg, for example, and can make it like crab scrambled egg, so be careful.
Ideally you want to use freshly cooked crab for this, rather than out of a can or frozen. Cooking a crab and dismantling it is a lot of effort to go to, but if you have the time and the inclination, it’s definitely worth it. NEVER, EVER use crab sticks for this dish.
If you do end up cooking a live crab, putting it in the freezer for an hour before you cook it puts it into a very low level of consciousness before you boil it, so it should transition from sleep into death painlessly. I hope.
The recipe below serves 2.
2 cloves of garlic
an equal amount of peeled ginger
3 table spoons vegetable oil
2 large tablespoons of curry powder
fish sauce to taste (about 2 tablespoons)
pinch of white sugar
200g – 250g fresh crab meat
about 1 tablespoon of shredded ginger
2 or 3 long chillies (any colour), sliced diagonally
half a small onion, sliced
4 green onions, sliced into 2 inch lengths, diagonally
coriander to garnish
1. Smash the garlic, ginger and pinch of salt into a course paste in a pestle and mortar.
2. Get the oil nice and hot in a wok, add the paste and fry it, stirring all the while. As soon as it starts to colour, throw in the curry powder. Fry this until it’s fragrant (1-2 mins maybe)
3. Add the fish sauce and a tiny pinch of sugar.
4. Optionally, at the point, you could crack an egg into the pan and stir it to quickly cook it.
5. Next you add the shredded ginger, onions, spring onions, chillies and stir it up.
6. Last of all, add the crab, and mix it all up. I add this last thing to prevent it breaking up too much. Bigger chunks are ideal.
7. Taste it. It’s should be rich, salty and with an explosion of aromatics on your tongue. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, but it should be good to go.
8. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.