This article is from the 20th Century Appetizer Recipes, with numerous contributions by famous and also anonymous cooks
1 c Oil for deep frying
4 Soft shell crabs
2 T Oil for stir frying
SEASONINGS (PUT IN BOWL
2 T Salted black beans: rinsed in hot water, drained, and-mashed into a paste
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t Ginger root, minced fine
2 Dried red chili peppers, tear into small pieces,-do not discard seeds
1 Scallion, cut into pea-sized pieces, including the green
1/2 c Green or red bell pepper, chopped
SAUCE MIXTURE (MIX IN BOWL
1 1/2 T Chinese Shaohsing wine or pale dry sherry
1/2 t Sugar
1/4 t MSG (opt. )
2 T Thin soy sauce
1/4 c Chicken broth, clear
1 t Cornstarch, mixed with 2T cold water
1. Heat 1 cup oil in Wok to deep-fry temp. Add crabs and deep fry until they turn orange. Drain crabs and discard oil. Clean and dry the Wok.
2. Heat the Wok over high heat. Swirl in 2 T oil. When oil is hot, add seasonings. Stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and stir fry for about 10 seconds.
Stir in sauce mixture. Put cooked crabs back into Wok. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook until sauce comes to a boil.
Stir in cornstaarch and water. Stir and cook until sauce is thickened. Put on a serving plate.
Serve hot. NOTE: For a less pungent hot dish, use 1 T salted black beans and 1 dried chili pepper. When you buy soft shell crabs, be sure they are still alive. Usually they look quite dead, weak and limp. Touch their legs, eyes, or mouth. Even if they respond only slightly and slowly, they are still alive. Refrigerate them as soon as you get home. Cleaning them is quite simple. Clip off the eyes and mouth. Lift the top shell and remove the soft feather-like gills and discard them. Turn the crab bottom up. Tear off and discard the cartlidge. (the shape of the female's is half-oval, the male's is a narrow triangle).