It took me 20 years to pin down my mother’s Singapore Chilli Crab recipe – I spent years watching her in the kitchen, but never knew the actual quantities to anything until this week, when I pinned down the recipe for my weekly Periscope! It was a great time hanging out with my mum and learning a bit more about our national dish, and even getting exact instructions on how to quickly kill a live crab (because that’s the best freshness seal!).
But don’t worry if you’re not up for dispatching Mr. Crab yourself, you can always get a fishmonger to do it for you. Oh, and if you prefer, prawns are a great substitute for crabs too!
Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe
- 1 kg Fresh Raw Mud Crab or you can replace with prawns if you prefer, cleaned and separated into quarters
- Oil for deep frying
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 200 g Asian Shallots* peeled
- 75 g Ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 Long Red Chillies with the top cut off
- 50 g garlic
- 15 g belachan fermented shrimp paste**
- 10 g dried shrimp**
- 2 stalks lemongrass roughly bashed with the back of a knife
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3/4 chilli sauce****
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 2 eggs beaten
- Soy sauce to taste
- Salt and pepper to season
- Soft steamed buns to serve***
- Coriander leaves or spring onions to garnish
- In a wok, or a medium sized pot that will fit the crab in snugly, add about 750ml vegetable oil, or until it comes 2 inches up the side of the pot.
- Add the butter, along with 2 tsp of salt, and heat till the butter is foaming.
- Add your fresh crab (or prawns, if using) to the oil, and fry till the shells are bright red, about 8 min.
- Meanwhile, add the shallots, ginger, chillies, garlic, and dried shrimp into a blender. Blend into a paste, using a touch of water if your blender is having issues.
- Remove the cooked crabs from the oil and drain on a paper towel, if needed.
- Drain off the excess fat, leaving about 3 tbsp in the pot.
- Add the belachan and fry over high heat, till aromatic.
- Add the spice paste and lemongrass, and fry over high heat till it deepens in colour, and the mix is fragrant, about 5-10min.
- Add ketchup and chilli sauce, and, stirring occasionally, heat till the sauce starts to bubble vigorously.
- Mix the corn starch with 1 tbsp water, and pour the slurry into the sauce to thicken.
- Add in the beaten eggs and turn the heat off, stirring gently to create loose ribbons.
- Add in the cooked crab, and mix throughly to combine. Taste the sauce, and if needed, add soy sauce to season.
** The belachan and the dried shrimp add that distinct flavour of the sea to the chilli sauce. It's not a compulsory ingredient, but I cannot promise that you won't get judged by a Singaporean if you don't include it.
***These buns are called Mantou, and they can also be served deep fried and golden brown, if you prefer.
****Bottled chilli sauce - similar to sweet chilli sauce, but tomato based - can be found at most asian grocers.
But wait, there’s more! Simply make this recipe, take a photo and post it to Everten’s Recipe of the Week on their Facebook page for your chance to win a $1,000 Wusthorf prize pack! You can find more details about the competition on Everten’s website. Remember to tag @TeaForTammi or Wusthof Australia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and we’ll share our favourites! We’ll also be Periscoping and sharing a recipe every week, so don’t worry if you’ve arrived here fashionably late to the party. Simply join us 6:30pm (Sydney time) every Wednesday for more delicious food, and follow @TeaForTammi to get notified when we go live!