So, I've been craving Singapore Chilli Crabs forever. But I don't really know of anywhere in Melbourne that sells the authentic version. And more importantly it has to taste of the right stuff, otherwise Singapore's most famous dish (other than Hainanese Chicken Rice which didn't come from Hainan) is ruined. I remember Lucas on Masterchef Australia serving it up for his first audition in front of the 3 judges. He started getting nervous when they asked him did he make his own sauce and he was perspiring when he admitted he had to add ketchup, otherwise it just doesn't taste right and authentic. He thought he was a dead fish as surely in a foodie-obsessed show like this, everything has to be made from scratch even ketchup. But luckily, phew...one of the judges (I think it was Gary who seemed familiar in cooking Asian dishes although Matt was familiar with eating it) said, "you are right, Singapore Chilli Crab is not the same without ketchup, you need it".
So anyway, while my folks were actually on holiday in Singapore, I decided to cook my grandmother's version of Singapore Chilli Crab instead of using Prima-Taste. S has never tasted my non-instant version before, so he was a tiny bit apprehensive, but my grandmother and aunt used to cook it every single weekend for our usual family gatherings that although it's been more than 10 years, I was surprised I can still remember what went into it.
People think the most humane way of killing the crab is to freeze it to death, it's not. Flip the crabs upside down, and open up the triangular "tab" and stab a knife or something sharp right through. This might seem macabre, but it kills instantly. Otherwise place it in the freezer for some 10 minutes and when it's semi-unconscious, do the deed. Now that we got the macabre and awful part out of the way, let's cook crab.
Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe
2 crabs (good sized, at least 1kg each)
2 tsp of cooking oil
2 whole shallots (minced)
1 palm sized ginger (minced or sliced thinly)
1 whole garlic (minced)
3 sprigs of spring onion (chopped 3cm)
1.5 bottles of thick ketchup
2 bottles of Maggi Garlic Chilli Sauce (have to be Maggi only)
Remove crabs from shell, separating the claws and make sure they are cracked using a heavy object like a nutcracker. Using palms and firm grip, crack the body in half and proceed to chop each half up into 2 or 3 sections, leaving legs intact. Set aside.
Heat the oil up in a wok, and add ginger and shallots when the oil is hot enough. Make sure the fire is not turned up too high, about medium should be right. Stir fry for about 5 min and add garlic, continue for another 5-10 minutes making sure the wok contents are not burning by constantly stir-frying. Add the crabs and quickly toss the ginger, shallots and garlic over it, coating the crabs. Turn the fire up and keep stir-frying for about 5 min, add spring onions. Lower the heat and cover for about 3 min. When the crabs are reddish in colour, they are almost cooked. Add Maggi Garlic Chilli Sauce and tomato ketchup, turn the heat up and stir fry for about 2 min, pour about half a cup of boiling water. Add egg and simmer for about 3 min when the sauce thickens and it's ready to serve.
You can add fried mantou to soak up the sauce, which is just delicious.
Apologies for the shoddy presentation, we did it at the spur of the moment due to massive cravings. Not to mention taking the opportunity while my parents are away to cook this dish. Dad has gout, and putting temptation like Singapore Chilli Crabs right in front of him seemed really mean. Not inviting them over to eat when they are here is also mean, so my guess is we won't be cooking this for a while until their next holiday in a couple of months. Mind you when I told Ma today that I'm thinking of doing this as a Christmas dish, she said, "WHAT? Christmas is turkey and ham, not Chilli Crab ok?!"
Melbourne, the food capital of Australia, where multi-cultural cuisines reign supreme. You've arrived at a food blog where good food has no boundaries - be it restaurants, cafes, takeaway joints and any other eating places. Recipes to try out with successes and failures blogged to no shame. The focus is on authentic Asian (Singapore) food found right here in the heart of Melbourne. Just remember, the best dining experience could surprise your tastebuds when you least expect it. Get ready to be surprised on my food journey. Bon Appétit!