If your arms weighed 5-7 times their current weight, you would have problems keeping them hinged as well. In the process of catching, sorting, packing, storing and transporting alimango, their claws often fall off or are ripped off by accident. In the wild, these claws can grow back over time. Severed claws make great appetizer material without the hassle of cleaning the whole crab. These brilliant claw specimens were discovered at a seafood stall at AANI FTI Saturday market in Taguig but it turns out they are typically sold wherever there is a large turnover of alimango or mud crabs.
I broke my own rule of buying only feisty and lively whole crabs to ensure freshness, but the seller assured me that the claws were fresh and stored on ice. Thankfully, she was right. I have since purchased these at least 8 times and they have always been fresh. The last time I bought some I paid P290 a kilo. They were on offer at P400 a kilo at a Mall type market in Makati area – yikes.
What do I use them for? One Christmas season I was looking for a festive appetizer and decided to serve a cold crustacean platter that included cold steamed prawns, crab claws and lobster. To prepare, just wash or scrub crab claws with a brush and drain excess liquid. Steam for several minutes until the shells turn bright red and the meat is cooked through. Cool the crab and chill in the fridge if you want to serve them cold. Serve on a platter with one or more of the following sauces: cocktail sauce (ketchup, horseradish, tabasco, lemon juice, salt and white pepper), melted butter and lemon juice, and perhaps a dill mayonnaise. Serve alone or with other seafood. Remember to provide crackers (to crack open the shells, not Skyflakes or Carr’s, silly) for your guests. You may want to pre-crack the claws before you serve them – just make sure they still look good when served, not like some battered (abused) crustacean. Happy eating!