I don't want just a little - Gimme the whole sha-bang!
When I’m in Germany the thing I miss most about living in SoCal (Southern California) is the food. Just driving on only one street in LA, you can find a variety of amazingly delicious food from different parts of the globe in every price range. Take Melrose for example, within a 3 mile radius there are more than 10 restaurants that I can just pop into & be guaranteed a foodgasm. I can have anything from modern Italian fusion at Fig & Olive to Argentinian grilled steaks at LaLa’s, and if I really want to get serious & splurge on a fine dining experience, there’s Providence, where dinner for two will easily set you back at least a couple hundred dollars per person. If you’re low on funds after dropping some serious dough at Providence, you can head over to the corner of Melrose & LaBrea to get a hotdog from Pink’s.
But when it comes to cravings & ultimate, unadulterated food pleasure, nothing beats The Boiling Crab.
Photo courtesy of The Boiling Crab Brookhurst
Each Boiling Crab location in Southern California is located smack dab in the middle of one of LA’s many Asian communities. My Boiling Crab of choice is the one in Korea Town. Sure, you’re guaranteed to wait for up to 2 hours for a table if you go there on a weekend, especially at the Korea town location, but it’s well worth the wait. And forget about take-out, you’ll end up overheating your cell phone & burning your ear after you call repeatedly and you’re greeted with a busy signal each time. When you finally get seated & your waiter ties that bib around your neck, you know you’re in for some serious food & it’s gonna get messy.
My standard order for 2 people:
2 pounds of shrimp
1 pound of king crab legs
2 cobs of corn
And of course such a decadent meal wouldn’t be complete without a beverage. My drink of choice is an ice-cold imported beer, preferably German. But the ordering process isn’t complete without choosing the most important part of the meal, THE SAUCE. I opt for the holy grail of all the sauces at Boiling Crab: The Whole Sha-bang! (I didn’t just add the exclamation mark for effect, it’s written on their menu)
The final step is choosing how spicy you want it & for me that’s medium. I tried the XXX once and trust me, as a lover of all things ridiculously spicy, you don’t want to go there. The intensity of the heat overwhelms the delicate flavor of the seafood. But don’t take my word for it, if you’re feeling woman/man enough, be my guest and give it a go.
So you’re done ordering & now it’s on to the meal. If you’re waiting for utensils, forget it. At The Boiling Crab, you eat with your hands. The table is covered in a white paper tablecloth coated in plastic. Your seafood is delivered in huge plastic bags full of saucy goodness. The servers dump about a pound of lemon on the table to either squeeze onto the seafood or cleanse your hands with after the meal, and there you have it. But don’t worry, there’s always a napkin dispenser nearby.
Having grown up in a household where I learned to use a knife & fork properly by the age of 4, it was a bit off-putting. When I was a child in Jamaica, formal dinners & lunches were a must in our house & they were accompanied by running commentary from my mom, who intermittently commanded me to get my elbows off the table & sit up straight, so sticking my fingers into a bag of seafood swimming in deep-red-buttery sauce seemed a bit uncivilized. But after a few bites all caution was thrown to the wind, the rules of etiquette were thrown out the window, & I stuck my fingers into the bags of pure ocean goodness and it was glorious.
Since the very first time I tried it, whenever I’m in LA, I have Boiling Crab at least once a month, sometimes two. So what do you do when you’re craving The Boiling Crab but you live in Germany? You cook it yourself! Having no recipe & left with only the distant memory of perfectly cooked shrimp smothered in a rich scrumptious sauce, I stopped by my local organic store for spices & seasonings, picked up some prawns from Frischeparadies, & was determined to cook my way back to Korea Town. Armed with nothing more than my palate & a French load of butter (a lot), I set out to recreate one of my favorite dishes, shrimp with THE WHOLE SHABANG sauce!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1. 2 lbs whole prawns
2. 1 thumb of Fresh Ginger
3. 1 bulb of garlic
4. 1/2 yellow or white onion
5. 3 tbs Paprika
6. 1tbs cayenne pepper (or more – to taste)
7. 1/2 tsp lightly toasted cumin seeds
7. 2 whole lemons
8. 6 bay leaves
9. 1 pinch of oregano
10. 250 – 350 grams of butter
11. 3 tbs brown sugar
12. 1tsp sea salt (salt to taste)
Put bay leaves & 1 lemon cut in half in a large pot filled with water. Bring water to a boil & add prawns. Cook prawns for approximately 2-3 minutes until they have turned red & then remove from pot and set aside. Place garlic, onion, and ginger into a food processor and chop finely or by hand. Put the butter in a large pot on medium heat. I usually use a wok. Add dried herbs & spices to the butter once it has melted (Paprika, Cayenne pepper, oregano). Next add the ingredients from the food processor to the butter & spices, season with salt & sugar & let it simmer for approximately 5-8 minutes. Once the sauce is ready add prawns and stir then serve with the extra lemon cut into wedges for garnish. It’s best if you are able to add the prawns to the sauce immediately after you’ve removed them from the boiling water so be aware of your timing. The pics below should give you an idea of each stage of the process. You can serve it with rice, potatoes, seasoned fries or whatever you like. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out by leaving a comment.
The result: it was spectacular & tasted just like the one I had in K-Town. Here’s to you Boiling Crab. As Yoda would say “In the mind only, distance is. In my belly and heart, The Boiling Crab is.”
All photos were taken by Lexie