Krua Apsorn Restaurant, Bangkok, and Its Famous Crabmeat and Yellow Chili Stir-Fry (เนื้อปูผัดพริกเหลือง ร้านครัวอัปษร)


krua apsorn crab stir fry

My version of Krua Apsorn’s Nuea Pu Phat Phrik Lueang

(For another version with chicken instead of crabmeat, see my post on Serious Eats.)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Crabmeat and Yellow Chili Stir-Fry (เนื้ิอปูผัดพริกเหลือง ร้านครัวอัปษร)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-3 Thai yellow chilies (see notes)
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves, hand torn into pieces and lightly bruised
  • ¼ pound plump and crisp yard-long beans or green beans, trimmed and cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat (don't use claw meat or canned crabmeat)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon oyster sauce (Krua Apsorn does not use this; it's my own addition)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Snap off the chili stems and discard them. Slice the chilies crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Pound them in a mortar just to break them up into roughly ¼-inch pieces and cause them to release the essential oil. (If you don't have a mortar, place the chili slices in a plastic zipper bag, wrap the bag with a kitchen towel, then go at it with a heavy object such as the handle of a large Chinese cleaver or a meat mallet.
  2. Set a 10-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil.
  3. Immediately add to the skillet, the pounded yellow chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and yard-long beans; stir them all around.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients; stir. Once the crabmeat is heated through, remove the skillet from heat.
  5. Transfer the finished dish to a serving plate and serve immediately with rice.
Notes
Auntie Daeng uses one yellow chili per 100 gram of crabmeat at Krua Apsorn. But use your own heat tolerance as the guide. If you can't find Thai yellow chilies, use red jalapeño or red Serrano peppers. Remove the veins and seeds before pounding them, if you want the dish to be fragrant of chilies without being too hot. Do not substitute with red or yellow bell peppers. They don't work the same way as Thai yellow or red chilies.

 

33 Responses to Krua Apsorn Restaurant, Bangkok, and Its Famous Crabmeat and Yellow Chili Stir-Fry (เนื้อปูผัดพริกเหลือง ร้านครัวอัปษร)

  1. Pam February 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    This is one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok — we ate there (Sanam Bin Nam branch) twice in one week this past November and ordered the crab and yellow chili stir fry both times. Everything there is delicious!

  2. David February 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Oh my gosh! I love Krua Apsorn. Their yellow curry crab is to die for! Thank you for writing this article, it’s very well done.

  3. Ken February 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    This is a fabulous post–very interesting, especially to those of us who’ve never made it to Thailand. Great photos. I’m curious–lump crabmeat is quite expensive in the US, a real luxury item. Is that also the case in Thailand? Thanks. Ken

    • Leela February 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks, Ken. Yes, jumbo lump crabmeat is expensive in Thailand. This dish is priced just a tad above the daily minimum wage of Bt300. Other dishes on Krua Apsorn’s menu aren’t nearly this expensive, though.

  4. Amber February 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Way to go!!! What an amazing experience, thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Kortez February 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    This article was great because I felt like I was in your shoes, there, at Krua Apsorn, wondering what to do, how to act, what to ask, and what would happen. I felt your trepidation, and I felt your relief and joy at being accepted and treated with respect and being made to feel welcome.

    I am going to make this recipe Wednesday or Thursday night. I can’t wait! I am not sure if I will be able to find a yellow or orange chili. May I use habanero pepper instead? I can find the proper color that way, and the heat is not a problem.

    Does anyone know a good mail-order source for kaffir-lime leaves? I have not been able to find local stores carrying them in Rockville/Germantown, MD.

    Thanks!

    • Leela February 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      Kortez, thanks for the kind words.

      Habanero is much, much hotter than yellow chilies, so approach with caution. If you can find red-colored peppers at your local supermarket (anything but bell pepper, though) that are lower on the Scoville scale, I’d use those.

      For kaffir lime leaves, try templeofthai.com. Not sure if they have them all the time or just if it’s just a seasonal thing. But that’s where I’d check first.

      • Kortez February 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

        Thanks! Templeofthai.com has kaffir lime leaves in stock, and I am ordering tonight.

        I really appreciate everything you do. It’s wonderful!

        • Leela February 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

          FYI, kaffir lime leaves freeze beautifully. You can order a bunch, wrap them up in a piece of paper towel, and put them in a freezer bag to use for the next 3-4 months. They thaw quickly too.

          • Kortez February 5, 2013 at 4:36 am #

            Thanks. I ordered a pound! I’ll make sure to store them in a few bags, wrapped up with enough paper towels to keep them preserved.

            Thai food is my favorite cuisine, and your blog has become my favorite web site very quickly!

    • Craig Cruden April 1, 2013 at 7:12 am #

      If you aren’t afraid of having a green thumb…. in the US you can get a dwarf kaffir lime bush/tree which is grafted. When I was in Canada I was looking at ordering one, but the border between Canada/US provided a big problem with the required certification.

  6. gingerquill February 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I love your investigative reporting. Your articles are so well written; I feel like I’m right along side of you on your adventures. The photos and recipes are wonderful…loved the grilled chicken and skewered pork. Thank you for taking the time to put together such an informative journal. More grease to your elbow…

  7. Mike Hills February 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    Wonderful post, wonderful blog. We read She Simmers and learn something new about something old from a friendly human voice. You can get kaffir lime leaves from importfood.com. They are fine in the freezer.

  8. ding February 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    as always, you write as if you’re just across the table from me, talking about food and telling stories.

    good LIVE crab here costs way over the daily minimum wage. but one day…one day…for today to compensate i’ll make your soured pork ribs. again.

    nice weighing scale. maximum capacity not 5, not 10 but all of 7 kgs!

    keep on writing. please.

  9. kampong boy February 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    “I’ve noticed you since you walked in,” she said.
    “I like you,” she declared.

    What was that about? Past life connection? Auntie Daeng liked you enough to open up her kitchen, that was incredible!

    Can you do the same magic with David at Nahm, he has a crab and snake gourd soup – แกงจืดบวบงู that is just heavenly. I know one of the ex-kitchen staff, but she refused to tell me the recipe.

    Love your posts.

  10. Sarah H February 4, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    I love your food writing, and I love Thai food. But this is my favorite sentence in this post : “…I knew I’d spend the whole afternoon in the dark archives of the National Library nearby — the activity which, to me, is akin to frolicking in a field of daisies on a sunny day with an ice cream cone in one hand and a stick of cotton candy in the other.”

    Hear, hear for the daisies! :-)

    -another library rat

  11. Jonathan King February 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    One of a very few web treatments I’ve seen that looks like someone cooking the way traditional Thai cookbooks say one ought to. Very inspiring…

  12. Oswulf February 6, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    I’m having trouble parsing the phrase “sand smelt jungle curry”. Jungle curry is obviously แกงป่า. Smelt are small fishes. But what is “sand” in this dish?

  13. FarangTalk February 6, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    Now I know where I am eating tomorrow night!

  14. Ai-Ling@blueapocalypse February 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    I ate this dish when I was in Bangkok 2 years ago. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I can’t wait to try cooking it.

  15. julie February 13, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    A little late to this, but I really loved and appreciated this post! I visited Bangkok for the first time last month and visited Krua Apsorn, but most of its well-known dishes were not available (sold out?) by the time I got there in the afternoon. I guess I’ll just have to console myself by attempting the recipe you so courageously elicited from the chef. Even more than the valuable recipe, thanks so much for sharing the story behind how you approached her. It would’ve been fine just to talk about the restaurant, the chef, the recipe… but I’m so glad you also give us the process behind how you got there. I’m often too shy and/or simply don’t know how to dig deeper into a culture or story. This is a really helpful and inspiring account — thank you!

  16. eater February 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    It may be me, but can someone tell me where the recipe is listed on the next page? Or send me the link, since I am not able to find the recipe, and would LOVE to try making this awesome looking dish.

  17. Eater February 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Sorry, when I click on the link I get a blank page or when I click on 2, I also get a blank page. Can you email me the receipt with the email provided? I really appreciate it, since I am salivating reading this thai dish.

    • Chris March 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      This is a known issue with those who use an old version of Internet Explorer. The page loads fine on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. But even with an outdated version of IE, you should still be able to get to this recipe print page: http://shesimmers.com/easyrecipe-print/2583-0/

  18. Laura March 7, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    LOVED this post. Someday when I go back to Thailand I am keeping you on speed dial for hints on where to eat!

    Also, my solution, FWIW, to the lack of separation in canned coconut milk (even I have noticed the quality has gone way down and I have only been cooking Thai curries for the last 12 years or so), has been to cook the paste in extra virgin coconut oil.

  19. Zelda March 30, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    This looks very tasty; I like the idea of pounding the chilies to extract the essential oil. I would definitely de-seed the chilies, though, as that harshness would, IMHO, be overpowering with the delicate crabmeat. I could probably eat the whole lot by myself, even though it says serves 2-3. Would this normally be served with other dishes?

  20. Craig Cruden April 1, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Unfortunately I don’t live close enough to this restaurant to go there very often, but if I have a relative or friend visiting the city this is one restaurant that I regularly take people to. I have ordered many dishes from their menu and I have never run into any that were not absolute perfection in a plate. This place deserves it’s reputation. If you’re visiting the city, I recommend taking the Skytrain to the Chao Phraya River (Saphan Taksin station – but it is scheduled to close so after the stop on the other side of the river). Then take the river transit (orange flag is regular run, there are express versions of it — just make sure not to get on the tourist one because all it will do is give you a headache) and take it up to Thewes Pier. From there it is a short (10 minute) walk up to Samsen Rd (left on Samsen Rd).

  21. Arnaud August 19, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    I’m just back from my last vacations in Thaïland and I went to Krua Apsorn (to the Din So branch) per your recommendation. We tasted the crabmeat of course, the mussel fried pad cha, along with a delicious som tam and a couple of other dishes that I don’t remember. The crabmeat was very spicy and friends of mine not familiar with spicy food were not able to eat it, but I love it. If you don’t support too spicy food, you might have to remove some chili seeds.

  22. Limirl September 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Leela you just answered something that has been driving me crazy for the last year. I couldn’t figure out why I was not able to split my curries. I have always used the chao koh brand and checked the listed ingredients on the can and it only lists coconut extract, water, citric acid and sodium metabisulfite. I had heard of cornflour being added by some brands to prevent splitting but it wasn’t listed here. All the previous curries I cooked over the last year even though tasty I considered ruined in my perfectionist way of thinking.

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