Crab stick is a processed seafood made from starch and finely minced white fish, shaped to look like the leg meat of Japanese snow crab. They don't contain any crab meat and my mom used to add them into soups, steamboats etc, but I'm never very fond of them because they just taste odd to me. But I love crab stick snacks - peeled and deep-fried, they are so crunchy, delicious and addictive that I can finish the whole tub of them in less than a week!
Every Chinese New Year, my mom will always make a huge tub of this addictive snack instead of buying them because it's so much more economical. As I will be away from home for this year's Chinese New Year, I decided to try making it myself. Instead of deep-frying, I chose to bake the crab sticks because I'm not very confident of deep-frying - too hot and the crab sticks will burn on the outside but still soggy on the inside; too cold and the crab sticks will taste oily. With an oven, the temperature is more constant and I can monitor them more easily.
The most tedious part of making this has got to be unrolling them. I spent almost 1.5 hours unrolling 3 packets of crab sticks! But this is perhaps due to the so-so quality of the crab sticks I've gotten. My friend told me that some brands are actually pretty easy to unroll, but sadly those brands can only be found in Singapore. Here, we only have one brand of crab sticks to choose from... (well, on a positive note, at least there's crab sticks here, if not I won't even be able to make this!) If I'm going to make them again (which is highly likely as half a tub is already gone after only one day...), I'm definitely going to ask X to help me out!
Here are other Chinese New Year Goodies on the blog if you are interested!
Baked Crab Stick
- 2 packets crab sticks, 10 crab stick per packet, thawed
- Preheat oven to fan-mode 140°C (see note 1). Line several baking sheets with baking parchment. Spray the parchment very lightly with canola oil.
- Peel off the crab sticks' plastic wrapper and carefully unroll them into thin layers (as thin as possible). Place the crab sticks on the baking sheets in a single layer, without overlapping with one another. Spray the crab sticks with another very thin layer of oil. (If you do not have a spray, you can use a brush to apply a very light layer of oil.)
- Bake the crab stick for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets then bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until all the crab sticks are lightly browned. There should not be any whitish parts on the crab stick as they will be chewy instead of crunchy.
- Place the baking sheets on wire racks and let cool completely then store in an air-tight container.
- I like to use the back-fan function of the oven when making this - heat is produced at the back of the oven without the top and bottom heating element. The fan helps to circulate the heat evenly in the oven, enabling me to cook several trays of crab stick at the same time. The top and bottom trays of crab stick will not burn as the top and bottom heating element are not switched on. If you only have a small oven or can only use the top and bottom heating element, bake the crab sticks one baking sheet at a time and adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly (see Step 3 to check for doneness).