World on a plate
Jack Stein’s new cookbook brings a flavour of Cornwall to the four corners of the world. Here’s one of his recipes to whet your appetite
Singapore, in many ways, is where it all really began for me. Our family had travelled in Europe and eaten oysters and other fruits de mer in Brittany and beyond but in 1985, on a trip to Australia when I was five, my love of seafood really took off. On a stopover in Singapore we went, as usual, to a night market and that’s where I first saw and tasted chilli crab. Maybe it was the jet lag, maybe the unbelievable humidity, but something in the experience opened my senses. I knew crabs, but not like these. Those watching me in the market might have been confused to see a small, pale, ginger-haired kid looking perplexed by his sensory overload, but in fact I was being seduced by the wonderful flavours that the crab dish had to offer. Ever since I have found the combination of eating Asian food at 11pm while jet-lagged to be paradise – and I owe it all to this dish!
My father’s version of chilli crab uses brown crab, which is far fullerflavoured than the mud crabs used in Singapore. My own recipe is similar to his but with a few tweaks – a classic but with just a little twist.
Extract taken from Jack Stein’s World on a Plate (Absolute Press, £26) out now