Thanh Le’s Shrimp & Crab Family-Style Stir Fry
The Clay Pot has long been a Waco institution. Now owned and operated by Thanh Le and her husband, Phong Le, the menu still offers some of the westernized dishes favored by their loyal fan base. And while most of the dishes, around 90% according to Thanh, feature the Vietnamese cooking of her childhood, every dish is an interpretation, an expression of her approach to cooking, and is entirely individual.
Thanh’s recipe for shrimp and crab family-style stir fry is more like a template than a set guide and is a go-to for the Le family when they need a wholesome, quick dinner.
Shrimp & Crab Family-Style Stir Fry
Feel free to customize based on your preferences or what’s in your fridge, and you can scale it up or down depending on who’s coming to dinner. (This recipe serves six people.) There are no chiles in here, so it’s gentle on kid tastebuds, but feel free to spice it up however you like. The Le family always keeps a bottle of sriracha on hand, just in case.
Neutral oil for cooking
1 c green onions, chopped (separate the chopped green tops from the white bottoms, as you will add them at different stages of the recipe)
2 T garlic, chopped
1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, sliced or chopped
2 c carrots, thinly sliced (peeling is optional)
2 c daikon, peeled and thinly sliced
4 T mushroom powder, divided in half (Thanh uses this brand)
1 lb. glass noodles, soaked in warm water for 1 hour, then drained
2 c Gulf shrimp
1 lb. crab
1 c fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves
Heat a large wok or skillet on high heat until slightly smoking, then add oil. When oil is shimmering, add chopped green onion bottoms (the white parts) and garlic and cook until softened, about 2–3 minutes. Then add carrots and daikon and stir fry until crisp-tender, about 2–3 minutes. Next, add glass noodles and toss to combine, cooking for another 2–3 minutes. Add half (2 T) of the mushroom powder to the noodle mixture, toss to combine, and cook for about 10 minutes more. Set noodle mixture aside in a large bowl and reheat empty wok or skillet on high with another splash of cooking oil.
Add the shrimp and crab to the hot wok or skillet. Cook for a few minutes, then add remaining 2 T of mushroom seasoning and toss, cooking a few minutes more until the shrimp are almost cooked through. Add the noodle mixture back into the wok or skillet, toss to combine, and cook until noodles get crisped in places, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped green onion tops and Vietnamese coriander leaves, toss for 30 more seconds, then pass out some bowls and let your companions serve themselves!
Clay Pot is located at 416 Franklin Avenue in downtown Waco and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm. Need food for a meeting or large event? Inquire about catering services.
Read more about the Clay Post in this article by Angelica Mazé.
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