Singapore Chilli Crab
Here’s arguably the most famous crab recipe in the world: Singapore Chilli Crab!
Any Singaporean will tell you the sauce is the beating heart of Singapore Chilli Crab. It’s an explosion of seafood flavour, less spicy than the name suggests, subtly sweet, deeply savoury. Sauce excellence at its finest!
▢1.5 kg / 3lb live mud crab or other large, fresh crab , cut into large portion size pieces and tomalley reserved ("crab mustard") (Note 1)
▢5 red cayenne chilli , seeds left in, roughly chopped (Note 2)
▢2 tbsp taucu paste (fermeted soy paste, sub miso Note 3)
▢6 garlic cloves (small), roughly chopped
▢2 eschalots (small), roughly chopped (Note 4)
▢3 tbsp ginger , roughly chopped (~7.5cm / 3″ piece)
SINGAPORE CHILLI CRAB SAUCE:
▢1/4 cup canola oil
▢1 tbsp belachan dried shrimp paste , chopped (sub shrimp paste, Note 5)
▢1 cup tomato passata (Note 6)
▢1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
▢2 tbsp ketchup
▢2 cups water
▢1 egg , lightly whisked
▢3 tbsp white vinegar
▢Fresh coriander , leaves whole or roughly chopped
▢2 tbsp green onion , finely sliced (or 1/4 cup finely sliced on angle, ice water 3 minutes for slight curl)
▢Golden mantou buns (Note 7)
Prepare crab: See separate tutorial for how to clean and cut a whole crab. You will end up with: 1) Crab pieces; and 2) Reserved tomalley ("crab mustard", Note 8) and crab juices in a separate bowl. This is a key "secret ingredient" used to flavour the sauce.
Chilli paste: Place ingredients in a small food processor or Nutribullet. Blitz until it's a fairly smooth paste.
Sauté belachan: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add belachan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It will smell pungent (to put it mildly), but have faith! It will mellow and transform!
Cook off chilli paste: Add chilli paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
Add tomato passata: Add tomato passata and cook, stirring regularly, for 4 minutes.
Add remaining sauce ingredients: Add sweet chilli sauce, ketchup, water and stir to combine.
Add claws: Add the crab claws first (they take longer to cook), stir to coat in sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover with a lid and cook 3 minutes.
Add "crab mustard" and juices: Add the reserved tomalley ("crab mustard") along with all the crab juices.
Add remaining crab pieces: Remove lid, add remaining crab pieces and any juices that have collected in this bowl. Stir pieces to coat, put the lid back on and cook for 7 minutes.
Remove crab: Use tongs to remove crab pieces into a bowl.
Egg ribbons: With the sauce still on the stove, and while stirring in a circular motion, pour the egg in a thin stream into the middle of the pot. This will create little ribbons of egg in the sauce that is traditional and look lovely.
Vinegar: Stir in vinegar.
Return crab: Return the crab pieces into the pot, gently stir to coat in the sauce.