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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Singapore Style Chili Crab

I was just after some fish for the weekend, but today I saw some blue swimmer crabs staring back at me... and there it was, a vision of Singapore Style Chili Crabs appeared somewhere in the depths of my brain, reminiscent of visits to the Lion City, sticky fingers and fried Chinese white buns called man tao (little white bread rolls).

Typically mud crabs would be used for this dish but for a sudden craving like this, surely this blue-tinged crustacean would do!

got 4 of them

Thoroughly clean the crabs and chop into sections (the cleaver only found its way midway these babies though)

Other Stuff You Would Need :
2 (brown) onions, peeled and roughly chopped
9 red chillies + 3 green bird's eye chillies (decrease according to taste - I only added the 3 green chilies because I knew the red ones I had were not very hot but had a great chili flavor)
3 cloves garlic
1 small tin of tomato paste (140g)
2 tbsp vinegar
a good glug of light soy sauce
salt to taste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch mixed in ½ cup of water
1 egg, beaten
a couple of cups of water
3 tbsp oil
some use belachan (dried shrimp paste) to season it as well, but I used a teaspoon of Filipino style bagoong alamang (something like this)
Coriander leaves, to garnish

In a food processor or using a hand mixer, blitz together onions, garlic and chilies.

you make me cry!


In a separate bowl, combine tomato paste, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Season to taste. Add a cup and half of water (or more depending on how much sauce you would like). Some use tomato puree, or tomato ketchup (or a combination of both) for this. I used tomato paste because that's what I had!

Heat wok and oil, dump in onion mix and stir until the moisture from the onions have evaporated. Add belacan (or alamang), stir fry for about a minute or two. Add tomato mixture, let simmer for a couple of minutes. Mix crabs in, and cook til crabs are red. Add cornstarch mixture and mix until slightly thickened. The finishing touch is the beaten egg to further thicken the sauce - make sure to mix promptly after adding so it doesn't clump up, you want to see those wonderful yellowish-white swirls of yumminess thoroughly incorporated in the sauce.

Serve immediately and garnish with coriander leaves.

I would have loved to eat this with man tao (crisp on the outside but soft inside - perfect for wiping the plate clean) but it requires some time to let the dough rise - so the next best bet was long grained rice to absorb all that wonderful sauce. yum.

And there is no other way to dig into that crab but to use your hands!

Pretty happy with how it turned out, it was almost the real deal back in Sgp (or so I thought!)



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