My Kids are finally back to the school routines. We sure have a busy schedule this year, from soccer practices to ballet classes, and volunteering at their school; kids are keeping me super busy. There’s only a limited time for me to prepare dinner every night and I love to keep things simple. This Broccoli with Egg Whites and Crab Meat 賽螃蟹 is one of our favorite entrée for the weeknights. It’s quick and easy to prepare and packed with wonderful flavors. It’s a pretty light, yet decadent dish to enjoy.
Broccoli with Egg Whites and Crab Meat is a very popular Shanghai dish. Although the Chinese name of this dish, 賽螃蟹, included the word crab; the traditional recipe doesn’t involve real crab meat at all. Here’s the story/history about this dish. According to the Chinese Wikipedia, Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后) was craving for crab one day. However, the palace in Beijing is far from the ocean and the royal chef didn’t have any fresh crabs to cook for the Empress. Instead, the chef improvised by using egg whites to imitate crab meat (such a brave and clever chef!) The Empress ended up loving this dish and the recipe was passed to different places including Shanghai, and it became very popular there.
I guess I am eating even better than the Empress as I do have access to fresh crab meat whenever I want! If you prefer the traditional approach, simply double the egg white portion and omit the crab meat. I personally love having the real crab meat in it, that just feels and tastes more luxurious, in my opinion. Either way, I know you’ll enjoy this dish just as much. However, the traditional recipe calls for a raw egg yolk on top. If you have concerns about consuming raw egg yolk, simply use pasteurized eggs in this recipe for the peace of mind. Last but not least, this dish is usually serve with red vinegar, or you can use the Chinese black vinegar instead. The acidity really cuts through the richness of the egg whites and the yolk, which rounds out the flavors of this dish perfectly.
Please click on the video below to see how I made this dish.
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Ingredients and props for this post:
Bamboo Placemats (Click here for more information)
Crab shape Chopstick rest (Click here for similar product)
Wood Chopsticks (Click here for similar product)
Broccoli with Egg Whites and Crab Meat
1/2 pound broccoli florets
4 cups chicken stock, for cooking the broccoli
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
a pinch white pepper powder
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil (for cooking the egg whites)
4 ounces fresh and cooked crab meat lumps
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon of milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg yolk
2 to 3 tablespoons red vinegar (the Chinese one, you can also use the black one if you have it)
In a medium pot, bring chicken stock to a boil, add sesame oil and white pepper, then add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the broccoli. I like it when they still have a bite to it. Remove from heat and drain completely. Save the stock for making noodles soup or for another recipe. Place the cooked broccoli around the sides of a large serving plate, leaving some spaces in the middle. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white, milk and salt together until well combined. In a medium non-stick sauté pan, heat on medium low heat, add the olive oil and wait until oil is heated through.
Add egg white mixture and stir constantly. Cook until egg whites are 50% cooked through and stir in the crab meat until heated through and egg whites are cooked through. Remove from heat and place in the middle of the cooked broccoli. Add an egg yolk in the middle and serve with vinegar of choice. Enjoy!