2live mud crabs (about 1kg each)6kaffir lime leaves, torn2red birdseye chillies, thinly slicedJuice of2 limes, or to taste1 tbspfish sauce, or to taste1egg, lightly beaten1 bunch eachcoriander and Thai basil, coarsely torn2spring onions, thinly slicedChilli jam60 ml(¼ cup) vegetable oil1onion, finely chopped5garlic cloves, finely chopped15 gm(3cm piece) each of galangal and ginger, finely grated3long red chillies, thinly sliced80 gmlight palm sugar, plus extra grated for seasoning2 tbspfish sauce, or to taste
Place crabs in freezer to render them insensible (30-40 minutes). Meanwhile, bring a stockpot (see note) of heavily salted water to the boil. Add crab, cover and cook until cooked through (15-20 minutes). Drain, then remove top shell from crab, discard gills and coral, quarter crabs, crack claws, set aside.
Meanwhile, for chilli jam, heat oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add onion, sauté until beginning to caramelise (15-20 minutes), then add garlic, galangal, ginger and chilli and sauté until chilli is tender (5-10 minutes). Transfer to a food processor, process until finely chopped, return to wok with palm sugar and fish sauce and sauté until caramelised (5-10 minutes). Add crab, lime leaves, chilli and 40ml water and stir until crab is heated through (5-10 minutes). Add lime juice and fish sauce and check seasoning, adding more juice, fish sauce and sugar to balance to your taste. Add egg and stir until egg is cooked and crab is well coated (2-4 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, scatter with herbs and onions, serve hot.
Note You'll need a big pot to cook both crabs
at once. Alternatively, cook them one at a time.