For father’s day I decided to cook up a storm and the choice of dish would be Singaporean chill crab with a side of stir fried Hokkien noodles. The last time I tried the crab was for dinner with some friends and that ended up a disaster with me close to slicing off my finger with the cleaver (4 weeks later and it’s still not completely healed).
The recipe used for this dish was from SBS and a recipe by Alex Lee (link here: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/130/Singapore_chilli_crab). Bear in mind if you’re doing this as well, watch the video as the recipe does miss a step or two).
Here’s my result:
So how do you actually make it?
Well it’s actually very simple, you’ll obviously need a crab, here’s the one I got, unfortunately it was missing a claw, but it will do.
If you’ve bought it live (which you should), you’ll need to kill it, remove the head, break it in half remove the claws (or claw in my case). Chop the body and legs into two pieces and the claw into two pieces at the elbow joint. A full crab should give you 8 pieces of meat, enough for 3 people. You’ll also need to smash up the shell of the claw pieces a bit, use the cleaver sideways or a hammer, be careful not to go too hard, you’ll still want it to look like crab pieces. Place on some paper towels to dry.
What you’ll need for the crab (amounts are for 1 full crab):
- 1 live (or freshly killed) mud crab
- 2 brown onions (roughly chopped)
- 8 red chillis (roughly chopped) (make sure they actually have a bit of kick to them)
- Belacan or some shrimp paste (tiny bit)
- 1/2 tbspn vinegar
- Approx 6tbspn oil
- 1 tbspn tomato paste
- 2 tbspn tomato sauce
- 300mL tomator puree
- 3 tbspn light soy sauce
- 1 tbspn chilli sauce
- 4 tbspn sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water with 1/4 tspn corn starch
- 1 egg
First blitz the onions and chilli in a food processor until its pretty fine but not too mushy (about 20 – 30 seconds).
A little extra step I like to do is to lightly fry the crab pieces, place a wok on high heat and wait til its very hot, pour in some oil and once it smokes, place the crab pieces in, be careful as the crab may still be wet and oil will fly. Cook roughly for about 30 seconds to a minute, remove and set aside.
Get the rest of your ingredients ready in preparation to make the sauce.
With a hot wok, pour the oil in, immediately after place the chilli and onion mixture/paste in and cook until it looks somewhat dry, the onion contains a fair amount of liquid which you want to evaporate. Next you’ll be adding the vinegar, tomato puree, paste, sugar and salt.
Next add the tomato sauce, soy sauce as well as water and starch mixture. let it simmer for a little bit to get the flavours out. Bring the sauce the boil and place in your crab pieces. Cook until the shell is a consistent red colour, once achieved, crack an egg in and stir to spread the egg uniformly. You’re done.
I personally don’t think crab is enough on its own, so to compliment it, I made some stir fried Hokkien noodles to go along with it. Like with any stir fry, they’re simple, but the key is maintaining high heat for the smokey flavours, this means moderating the portions you cook with so the heat doesn’t dissipate too quickly.
For my stir fry, I had the following:
- Garlic (finely chopped)
- Fish balls
- Fish cake
- Chinese cabbage
- Bean sprouts
- Hokkien noodles
- 2 tbspn oyster sauce
- 1/2 tbspn seasame oil
- 1 tbspn oil
With stir fry, you want to arrange your ingredients in a logical manner for when you throw them in.
To make the stir fry, have your work hot and smoking, add the oils, they should smoke immediately. Add the chopped garlic and stir immediately, do not stop! Next add the capsicum, onions, chilli and carrots, keep stirring. After about 20 seconds you want to add the fish balls and fish cake, this is also the time to add the oyster sauce.
Next is to add the noodles, make sure when you dunked them in hot water you didn’t leave it too long, otherwise you’ll be left with mushy noodles. Give it a good stir then finally add the cabbage and bean sprouts, once they soften you are done and should end up with something like this:
My final results of the two dishes: