We call it “taba ng talangka”, literal translation – fat of the (Asian) shore crab but in reality it is “aligue” or the roe of the (Asian) shore crab. I’m not sure if it is uniquely Filipino but I grew up thinking that it is a condiment that was uniquely Filipino. Taba ng talangka or aligue, as our helper used to describe it (in their local dialect and roughly translated here) is a fermented paste condiment made by salting live (female) shore crabs and cooking the roe/fat with more salt and a little calamansi (calamondin). It can be eaten as condiment to local dishes (similar to bagoong) but it can be used to flavor dishes too – it is particularly good with rice, pasta, and noodles.
We often use it to make taba ng talangka fried rice or taba ng talangka spaghetti with shrimps. This instance I wanted to try making a dish using sotanghon (mung been noodles) and soft-shelled crabs that I got as a souvenir-gift.
The first step to the soak 300 grams of sotanghon in water until they are softened; drain then set aside.
The next step is to prepare the crabs. There really isn’t much to do since the crabs were already “prepped” (they came in a box and it was indicated on the box that it was ready-to-cook) so after they were defrosted, I dried them with paper towels. Then they were ready to be dipped in flour, then in beaten egg, then in seasoned flour. Deep fry until done then set aside.
Saute lots of ginger and sliced onions until the onions are soft and transparent. Add about 1 cup of taba ng talangka (canned or bottled). Add the crabs (if you like although I did not but instead used the crabs as topping/garnish) and stir fry several seconds (add tablespoons of water if the dish gets too pasty, add little at a time just to loosen the mix). Add the sotanghon and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add drops of fresh calamansi or lemon (this is to minimize the langsa or fishy taste). Cook over low-medium heat until done. Be careful not to over cook (or under cook) the noodles.