A hands-on meal with a generous kick of Asian flavour
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.
SINGAPORE-STYLE CHILLI CRAB Serves 4
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.