Here is the improved version of my chilli crab recipe. As I mentioned in my previous article, I find that most places serve their chilli crabs with a spicy sambal which overpowers the natural sweetness of the crabs. This recipe is closer to the original version that was invented by Mdm Cher Yam Keng in the 50’s where the sauce isn’t thickened with beaten eggs. I lightly fry the garlic, chillies and shallots to keep the flavours bright and fresh instead of using a pre-fried sambal. The caramelising of the sugar with butter is an extra step I added to give the crabs a little of that wok hei flavour that they achieve at the restaurants by frying the crabs over high heat . The simple dried prawn stock adds lots of umami power to the dish. You can substitute it with ikan bilis stock cubes but nothing beats a freshly made stock! Finishing it with a flambe of XO brandy gives the dish that touch of prosperity to usher in the Chinese New Year!
Crabs 2 (800g – 1.2 kg)
Garlic 4 cloves
Ginger 3 cm sliced
Sauces and seasoning
Sugar 1 Tbsp
Plum Sauce 6 Tbsp
Chilli Sauce 4 Tbsp
Tomato ketchup 2 Tbsp
Dried prawns 1/4 cup or 30g
Potato starch 1 Tbsp dissolved in water
1. Kill and prep crabs
2. Put sugar in pot and heat till it melts and caramelizes. Add butter and cook till it turns brown. Add plum, chilli and tomato sauce and set aside.
3. Add dried shrimps in a pot with 500ml water and simmer for 15mins and strain.
4. Use Tefal chopper to mince garlic, chilli and shallots.
5. Heat 3 Tbsp oil and fry chopped ingredients plus sliced ginger
6. Add crabs and toss to mix. Fry for 2 mins
7. Add sauces and dried prawn stock and enough water so that half of the crabs are submerged.
6. Bring to simmer and cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
7. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 5 mins, stirring occasionally till sauce thickens
8. Add potato starch to thicken the sauce and serve with fried mantou or toasted French Loaf.
9. Optional: Add 1/4 cup of brandy and flambe it for that extra oomph!
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