Mix the flour with a large pinch of salt. Dredge the cleaned crabs with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then combine them with the garlic and black pepper paste.
Pour the deep-frying oil into a large, stable wok or a wide, heavy-based pan until it is about two-thirds full. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame until a cooking thermometer registers 180°C (350°F). Alternatively, test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a cube of bread; it will brown in about 15 seconds if the oil is hot enough.
Deep-fry the crabs in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes, turning them a few times to ensure even cooking, until they are cooked and the garlic is golden. Should the garlic start to smell bitter and darken too much before the crabs are ready, quickly scoop it out. Lift out the crabs and drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice and a small bowl of sauce Siracha.
“Reprinted with permission from Thai Street Food: Authentic Recipes, Vibrant Traditions by David Thompson, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.”
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