['8 soft-shelled crabs, cleaned, or 2 whole Dungeness crabs', '2 tablespoons vegetable oil', '1 (3-inch) knob ginger, minced (about 3 tablespoons)', '5 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)', '"3 to 4 fresh red birds-eye chiles, seeded and minced", 1 tablespoon Chinese fermented black beans or black bean sauce', '1 tablespoon shaohsing rice wine or sherry', '1/2 cup plain tomato sauce, purchased or homemade', '1/4 cup mild chili sauce, such as Heinz', '1 tablespoon sugar', '2 teaspoons kosher salt', '1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper', '2 teaspoons cornstarch', '2 large eggs, lightly beaten', '2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped', '1 scallion, thinly sliced on bias', 'Accompaniments: steamed Chinese buns or baguette slices']
If using Dungeness crabs, using cleaver or large chef's knife, cut in half lengthwise and remove back shell and spongy green matter. Remove claws from body section and, using back of cleaver or chef's knife, crack in several places. Cut each body section into 2 or 3 pieces, leaving legs attached. Rinse all pieces thoroughly and pat completely dry.
In wok or large skillet over moderate heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add ginger, garlic, and chiles, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add black beans and stir-fry several seconds. Add crab and stir-fry until meat begins to turn opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in rice wine, tomato and chili sauces, sugar, salt, pepper, and 1 cup water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until crab meat is fully cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.
In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Stir into crab mixture in pan and simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Stir in eggs and simmer, uncovered, until bits of egg are fully cooked, about 1 minute. Stir in cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately with steamed Chinese buns or baguette slices.
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