This is a great last-minute braise with a wonderful flavour. The noodles soak up the crab juices and you can suck the crab right out of the shell.
Kill the mud crab humanely, pull off the top shell, discard the grey gills and wash. Pull off the claws, chop the body in half and crack the shell on the claws with the back of a cleaver. Soak the noodles in warm water for 5 minutes, then drain well.
To make the spice paste, place the chillies in a dry heavy-based frying pan and roast until blackened, then grind to a powder. Roast the peppercorns and coriander seeds until fragrant, then crush in a mortar with a pestle. Add the rest of the paste ingredients to the mortar and pound until you form a coarse paste.
Boil the stock ingredients for 1 minute, then add the paste and cook for another minute. Put the noodles and crab in a wok, pour over the broth, bring to the boil and cover. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the crab is cooked. Arrange in a bowl and top with the coriander and spring onions.
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