Can Tho City’s Nice Dish: Ba Khía Rang Me (Freshwater Crabs Cooked with Tamarind Sauce)

05/09/2016 19:50
If you have an opportunity to visit Can Tho City, you should save time to go Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Thoi Binh Ward, Ninh Kieu District to enjoy many unique delicacies from Ba Khia cooked in various ways such as boiling, frying, steaming… This street is also called "Ba Khia Street" by the locals!
Pre-processed Ba Khía

Every year in the flood season (from August to October, lunar calendar), when the dense holes beneath mangrove trees submerged in water, Ba Khia must move its homes on the surface of the water, up the tree trunks and roots. Ba Khia is in season during this time and people are ready to catch Ba Khia.

When the tide is up in dark nights, people have their sampans approaching the roots of mangrove trees along the banks of the small irrigation canal.  All they have to do is to gently pull those lunaris Ba Khia off the trees and put them into the bags. During the rising tide, a hardworking person can easily catch several kilos of Ba Khia.










Fermented Ba Khía

In the past, Ba Khia’s economic value was not high, and the single processing way is to salt it and let it be fermented for later use.  This dish is considered as a typical and indispensable dish in the locals’ daily meals. Today, due to increased demand for food, Ba Khia are prepared in different ways by professional cooks such as Ba Khia Sour Soup, Ba Khia Steamed in Beer, Ba Khia Roasted with Salt… The most interesting dish among these is Ba Khia Cooked with Tamarind Sauce.









Ba Khia Cooked with Tamarind Sauce

Good Ba Khia should be female (The males are harder yet less meaty), feel hard and have firm plastron. Put them in a plastic bucket, pour water to cover them all and stir them many times using bamboo sticks (or chopsticks) until they are clean and all become too dizzy to attack. Remove their shells, cut the crabs in halves, clean and let them drain. Next, put the frying pan on the stove; pour in some oil to fry some garlic until it turns brown and then fry Ba Khia until it it done. Tamarind sauce is prepared by adding some hot water in the bowl, putting some ripe tamarind and stirring the mixture well. Add some seasonings into this mixture for the good taste. When Ba Khia is ready, pour the tamarind sauce into the pan and cook it with low heat. Remember to stir it steadily until the tamarind water is thick and permeats into the crabs. Put Ba Khia on the dish of laska leaves. Add some broken roasted peanuts on the crabs and the dish is ready.









Processed Ba khía

Pick up some Ba Khia with laksa leaves, put it in your mouth, chew it slowly and you will feel the sour, sweet, fatty, crunchy mixture of Ba Khia and  the little spicy taste of laksa leaves. All of these can be feel in all your senses.

In addition, Ba Khia can be boiled with lemongrass and served with ginger fish sauce. This is also a very nice way of preparing Ba Khia.  Sweet meaty Ba Khia gives a nice fragrant mingled with other flavors from lemon, pepper and lemongrass. This is obviously an unforgettable cuisine for visitors to this place.

 Source: - Translated by Ngoc Diep CTU