Spring crabs are tasty. It is a blue crab season where I live and I was inspired to make crab stew in Korean style. It is called kkotgetang (꽃게탕). Blue crabs are closest to the Korean crabs. However, Korean crabs are much softer, which means easy to peel and take the meat out.of the shell. That doesn't mean you can't have the delicious stew. If you can find the Korean crabs, that would be the best, but blue crabs will do the job.

Looks for fresh crabs that are alive unless it is already cleaned or frozen. Mine was alive, and I had to put them in the fridge for overnight to shock them.

To clean, just separate the top shell from it body and clean out. The orange part are the eggs, I would keep them. Cut off the skinny legs except the claws. Save the legs and the top shell to make stock with.

Rinse very well, and quarter the crabs.

You will also need these vegetables. Korean radish, zucchini, Asian leek (or green onion), chili, garlic, and chrysanthemum leaves called "ssukgot (쑥갓)". You can substitute with watercress since it is hard to find. Watercress will be equally tasty in this stew.

You will need to make the seafood stock as a base. Combine dried anchovies, dried shrimps, and the crab shells. Bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Discard the seafood, and reserve the stock.

Make the seasoning paste by combining chili flakes, chili paste, soybean paste, garlic, soy sauce for soup, and fish sauce.

Add the seasoning paste to the stock, and add sliced radish. 

Add the crab pieces and bring to a gentle boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the radish pieces are tender.

Add the sliced zucchini, garlic, and chili, and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Add the sliced Asain leek (or green onion) and heat through.

Finally add the leaves at last, and your stew is ready to serve.

Serve with rice and enjoy the great flavor from the ocean. Crab stew is one of the most popular seafood stew in Korean and it can be expensive to eat at the restaurant. 

As you can tell, it is not that difficult to make. So why not make the stew at home with a fraction of the cost? You will be happy that you tried when you taste the broth.
~ Holly

Korean Crab Stew (Kkotgetang, 꽃게탕)

serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 Korean crabs or blue crabs, cleaned and quartered
  • 5 cups water
  • 5-6 large dried anchovies
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp
  • 1/4 small Korean radish, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chili, sliced
  • 1 Asian leek or 2 green onion, sliced
  • 1 bunch chrysanthemum leaves or watercress
  • dashes black pepper
For the seasoning paste:
  • 3 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Korean chili paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon soybean paste
  • 2 tablespoons Korean soy sauce for soup
  • 1 tablespoon Korean fish sauce

Directions:

  1. In a 2.5 qt soup pot, combine water, dried anchovies, shrimps, and crab legs and shells. Bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Discard the seafood and reserve the stock.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all the seasoning paste ingredients and mix well. Add the paste to the stock and stir well. 
  3. Add the radish and crab pieces and bring them to a gentle boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes until the radishes are soft. Add the zucchini slices, Asian leek, garlic, and chili, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Add the chrysanthemum leaves (or watercress) at last. Remove from the heat and serve hot with rice.

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