Da Hae and Gareth West, co-owners of London’s bustling “Ameri-Korean” street food restaurant Busan BBQ, just released a new collection of their favorite recipes. Peruse their cookbook, K-Food, and get to know their distinct style, from classics to inventive fusion and everything in between.
My family have been going to Jin Go Gae, a Korean restaurant in New Malden, in southwest London, for the past five or six years. It’s not particularly conveniently located, and it’s pretty far from any station, but it’s known to be one of the best and most authentic Korean restaurants around. In fact, my parents still travel up from Portsmouth to eat there almost every month, and the restaurant is always full. One of my favorite dishes there is a spicy marinated raw crab dish called yangnyum gejang. In Korea, this dish is nicknamed “the rice thief,” because the sauce is so good that you keep going back for more rice to mop it up. Though I love it, raw crab isn’t for everyone, so this is our version. It’s addictive, messy, and delicious.
- 1 large whole brown crab or 2 small crabs, about 3 pounds 5 ounces in total
- 1/2 cup cooked short-grain rice
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, to garnish
- 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
- 1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean red chile powder)
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/4-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon white rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
For the crab
If you’re cooking a live crab, put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to numb it prior to cooking.
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a vigorous boil. Fully submerge the crab in the water and cook for 12 minutes. Remove the crab from the water and set aside to cool.
While the crab is cooling, make the sauce by mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl.
Once the crab is cool, remove the legs and claws by gently twisting them off from where they meet the body. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sauce and put the remaining sauce in a large bowl. Crack each of the legs and claws with a nutcracker or by hitting them swiftly with a large knife and then put these into the bowl with the sauce.
Lay the crab on its back and carefully push a knife between the shell and central body part (or “purse”) of the crab to prise it open. Set the purse aside. Drain off any water left behind in the shell, then remove and discard the circle of gray feathery gills (known as “dead man’s fingers”).
Using a teaspoon, scoop out the remaining brown crabmeat from the inside of the shell and spoon it into a small bowl. Mash the crabmeat with a fork, add the rice and the remaining sauce, and mix together thoroughly. Set aside.
Rinse the shell under running water and dry thoroughly.
Cut the crab purse into quarters with a large knife. Pick out the white crabmeat and transfer it to a small bowl.
Lay the cleaned shell on a serving dish and fill it with the brown crabmeat and rice mixture. Spoon over the white crabmeat and garnish with the scallions.
Pile the spicy claws and legs around the dressed crab and serve immediately. Be sure to eat this with plenty of napkins — it’s messy!