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Thai-Style Seafood Casserole with Basil

3 oz Dried mung bean thread noodles
1 sm Dungeness crabs Or a couple of whatever local crabs you have.
1/2 ts Black peppercorns
1 tb Chopped fresh coriander root
4 Garlic cloves
1 ts Sugar
1 tb Golden Mountain Sauce, or dark soy sauce
1 tb Light soy sauce, or Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla)
2 ts Oyster sauce
1 tb Rice wine, or dry sherry
1 ts Asian sesame oil
2 tb Vegetable oil
3 qt Slices of ginger, crushed
4 Red chilies, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
6 oz Medium shrimp (36 to 40 per count), shelled, deveined, patted dry
4 Green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 To 1/2 cup water
1 lb Fresh fish filets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb Large squid, cleaned, cut crosswise into 1-inch rings
1/2 c Thai sweet basil leaves
Fresh coriander sprigs


Put the mung beans into a bowl and cover with warm water; soak until soft and pliable, about 10 minutes. Drain. Set aside. If you are using a cooked crab, have the fishmonger crack it into large pieces.

To clean a live crab, be careful, and use a brush to scrub its underside and between the claws and legs to loosen the sand and grit. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Plunge the crab into boiling water for a minute to kill it. Remove. When cool, clean, disjoint and chop the crab into large chunks.

In a mortar or spice mill, pound or grind the peppercorns first, then add the coriander root and garlic, and work it into a paste. Mix together the sugar, Golden Mountain, soy and oyster sauces, rice wine and sesame oil in a bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil into a 3 1/2-quart sandy clay pot casserole (or a Dutch oven) and set over medium heat. Add the coriander-garlic- pepper paste and saute lightly.

Increase the heat to high. Add ginger, chiles and raw crab pieces; toss and brown for a minute. Add the shrimp an green onions to crab mixture; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and mung bean noodles; toss and mix together. Stir in the water, cover pot, reduce heat to medium and braise for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the noodles seem dry, add more water.

Increase heat to medium-high, and gently stir in the fish and squid (and cooked crab if using), mix with the noodles, top with the basil leaves. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer. Check for doneness. Garnish with fresh coriander sprigs. Bring the clay pot to the table and serve hot with rice and vegetables.

Serves 4.


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