A hands-on meal with a gen­er­ous kick of Asian flavour

The Herald Magazine - - NEWS -

PRE­PARE to get your fin­gers dirty – this in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Sin­ga­pore’s most fa­mous dish is meant to be eaten with your hands, served along­side noo­dles or rice as a main course. Don’t even think about cook­ing it with­out first check­ing you have plenty of nap­kins.

The clas­sic ver­sion uses mud crab but here I have used the com­mon Scot­tish brown crab, read­ily avail­able from fish­mon­gers and in­ex­pen­sive. Make sure the crabs are alive when you buy them for max­i­mum fresh­ness.

Although the name would sug­gest other­wise the dish is not overly spicy, pack­ing a whop­ping punch of flavour.


30ml veg­etable oil 1 ba­nana shal­lot 30g root ginger 4 gar­lic cloves 100ml wa­ter 30ml soya sauce 1 red chilli 5g red chilli flakes 100ml tomato ketchup 10g tomato puree 2 x 1kg brown crabs 2 spring onions 10g co­rian­der

Make the sauce first. Place a medium saucepan on a low heat and add the oil. Peel and finely slice the shal­lot, ginger and gar­lic, add them to the pan and cook gen­tly with­out colour.

Once the shal­lot and gar­lic are soft and translu­cent add the wa­ter, soya sauce, red chilli, chilli flakes, tomato ketchup and tomato puree.

Bring the con­tents to the boil be­fore re­mov­ing from the heat and plac­ing in a liq­uidiser. Blend un­til smooth and re­serve to one side.

To cook the crabs bring a large pan of wa­ter to the boil with the lid on. Sea­son the wa­ter with salt un­til it tastes like sea­wa­ter – this will en­sure the crab tastes its best. Cook the crabs one at a time for 10 min­utes. Once the crabs are cooked re­move the legs and claws and set aside. Dis­card the bod­ies.

Us­ing the back of a heavy knife or a rolling pin, smash the legs and claws then place them in a large pan, cover with the sauce and mix well.

Fin­ish by slic­ing the spring onions and sprin­kling them over the crab along with the co­rian­der. Serve with a por­tion of your favourite noo­dles or rice.


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