Singapore Chilli Crab
Singapore chilli crab is no doubt the Number 1 national dish! There’s just something about meaty crabs slathered in spicy, sweet and highly addictive sauce that has everyone clamouring to get a taste of this iconic dish. When we last caught up with I and S in Sydney, we encountered some extremely fresh crabs, and my sister immediately thought of making chilli crab. With all the slurping and licking of fingers it’s a dish best enjoyed with close family and friends.
Crabs were harmed in this dish… do not read further if it affects you… I have many vegetarian friends and hope that you won’t be traumatised…
Crack the crabs; pincers then wok-sear the crabs.
Cook the sauce, and adjust according to taste.
Singapore Chilli Crab
adapted from Southeast Asian Flavours
1/4 cup ( 7 gms) Dried red chillies, stems and seeds removed
1/4 cup Vegetable oil, plus 2 Tbsp. extra for cooking crab
2 medium Shallots, roughly chopped
6 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 pieces Long red chillies or other hot red chillies, roughly chopped
1 Live Australian Mud Crab, about 1kg – 1.5 Kg
1 Tbsp Cornstarch whisked together with 1/4 cup water
11/2 cup Water (divided and used separately)
3 Tbsp Tomato Sauce
1 Tbsp Ground bean sauce (Tau Cheoh)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 Spring Onion sliced
6 Sprigs of coriander
soft white bread (man tou is the traditional bread eaten with chilli crabs)
- Make the spice paste (rempah): Soak dried chillies in 1/2 cup of room temperature water 30 minutes; drain (save water), squeeze out excess moisture. In a blender, put soaked chillies with 1/4 cup oil, shallots, garlic, ginger, and chillies to create a fine spice paste. Add only as much water (use water from chillies) as you need for easy blending.
- Prepare crab: Cut crab with by piercing through the center of the body with a knife, cutting through head. Pull off top shell and reserve. Pull off the feathery gills and bottom tail flap and discard. Cut the entire crab in half from head to tail. Cut off both claws, cut body halves evenly in two so there are some legs on each piece. Rinse crab with cold water and drain very well. With a heavy, blunt object (such
as a mallet or the back of a cleaver) crack claw and thick legs to ensure sauce penetrates.
- Combine water and cornstarch, whisk well, and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan, add spice paste and cook until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup water, ketchup, ground bean sauce,sugar, and salt, bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce thickens considerably. Add water as needed to maintain a thick and creamy sauce consistency.
-Add crab back to pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until crab is fully coated with sauce. Transfer crab to a serving platter. Bring sauce up to a simmer; drizzle in eggs while stirring slowly to create small ribbons of eggs (like egg drop soup). Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt or sugar. Pour sauce over crab. Garnish with scallions, and serve with crusty soft-centered bread or steamed rice.