2018 MasterChef winner Sashi Cheliah kicks off his year as a delicious. columnist with a Singaporean classic you’ll want to get your claws into.
Welcome 2018 winner Sashi Cheliah.
FOR MY FIRST recipe for delicious., I’m looking to my Singaporean heritage. Not only is it one of the country’s national dishes – you’ll find it in every hawker centre and seafood restaurant around the city – more importantly, it is also my wife Rabicca’s favourite meal.
I’m talking about chilli crab, which is most commonly made using mud crab. The secret to achieving amazing results is to choose good-quality crab meat. And then there’s the sauce… The crab is cooked in a chilli paste until the meat is succulent and tender. That sweet, spicy and tangy covering will hook you from your first bite.
A great way to savour the sauce is with a serve of mantou, a light and fluffy Chinese steamed bun. Though in Singapore it’s commonly fried when accompanying chilli crab. Just dip it into that wonderful sauce and soak it all up.
Crab lovers usually get their hands messy eating this dish. Use your teeth, mallets and hands to crack open the shell and enjoy the meat – it’s all part of the fun. And the aroma you’ll unleash adds to the whole experience. Cooked at home, you can’t go wrong!
SINGAPORE CHILLI CRAB SERVES 2-4
1 x 1.1kg live mud crab 10 dried long red chillies, seeds removed 5 long red chillies, roughly chopped 30g galangal, peeled, finely grated 6 Asian (red) eschalots, finely chopped 6 garlic cloves, chopped 1 lemongrass stalk (white part only),
chopped 6 candlenuts (from Asian food shops –
substitute water chestnuts), chopped Juice of 1 lime 2 tbs belacan (roasted shrimp paste) 100ml sunflower oil 2 tbs caster sugar 100ml tomato ketchup 2 eggs, lightly beaten Shredded long green shallot, coriander sprigs and fried mantou (optional – from Asian food shops), to serve
Freeze crab for 2 hours to put to sleep. Place crab on its back on a board. Working quickly, lif t the abdominal flap and insert a knife through body directly underneath where the tip of the flap was. Insert knife through the shallow depression at the front of the body, below the mouthparts, at a slight angle away from the face. Quarter crab, discarding gills. Using a rolling pin, gently crack claws part-way through. Chill until needed.
Meanwhile, soak dried chillies in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain and chop. Whiz all chillies, galangal, eschalot, garlic, lemongrass, candlenut and lime juice in a food processor to a paste.
Heat a wok or large frypan over high heat. Add belacan and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chilli paste and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes or until darkened slightly. Add oil and bring to a simmer. Add sugar, ketchup and 1/2 tsp salt flakes, and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes or until reduced slightly. Add crab and 1 cup (250ml) water, stirring until well combined. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until claw meat is just cooked through. Stir through egg and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until cooked through.
Scatter with shallot and coriander, and serve with mantou, if using.
delicious.com.au/recipes For more great crab recipes.