How to Make It
In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the chopped shrimp and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions, garlic and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rice powder, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the brandy and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add the clam broth, heavy cream and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until the solids are finely chopped. Wipe out the pot. Strain the bisque into the pot, pressing hard to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and season with salt.
In a large saucepan, combine the milk with 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the tapioca and cook, stirring constantly, until the pearls are translucent all the way through, about 15 minutes.
Stir the tapioca and its milk into the bisque and add the crab. Spoon the bisque into shallow bowls, garnish with the snipped chives and serve.