The Singaporean Chili Crab is the king of crabs! Crab dishes, that is, and get to know why this luxurious, ever-comforting, and name-forgetting main course is the perfect meal that you can ever prepare for a candlelight date. It’s time to upgrade your kitchen skills and to forget the usual steak-and-pasta meet ups; do the unexpected and make someone smile and hear that sweet yes — let’s do this!
This is one of the World’s Most Delicious Foods by CNN Go, and rightfully deserved. Its sweet chili-tomato sauce is a perfect, perfect, match with the awesome goodness of crab’s oozing fat and succulent meat. Ooh la la. I bet you will also fall in love with this sensuous delight.
Popularized in Singapura, that’s modern day Singapore, the Lion Country of Asia, and some would say this is where the recipe originated. But after researching for the best cooking techniques, I found that the Malaysian Chili Crab is somewhat similar with the Singaporean’s. And along the way, I learned that there was an origin dispute between the two.
Nonetheless, both recipes are awesome and I’m so proud that this came from our Asian cousins. And at Club 3510, it’s about time to experience this Singaporean delight!
Now let’s go on the luvvv side and why this is a Yes, Yes, Yes Date Meal:
Reason #1 — Sweet, spicy, fluffy, luxurious, mouth-watering, delightful, comforting, mood-swinger, and happiness are words attached to this dish; it’s simply delicious and delightful. Period.
Reason #2 — Definitely irresistible; no one would pass a Singaporean Chili Crab for those who loves crabs. No one. Now, you got a sure date.
Reason #3 — It looks luxurious and expensive to do, but it’s not. Order this in any fine dining restaurant at a cost of a finger. However, when you discover how to cook this, you will be amazed how affordable this is. Thumbs up for being resourceful! And be that suave debonaire that knows a thing or two about upscale food; darn you, sweet cheapskate!
Reason #4 — It looks complicated to cook but it’s not. Believe me. Earn that labor-of-love badge after serving this dish; wink, wink.
Reason #5 — It’s such a surprise. Do it with a steak and spaghetti, she will dine it like a pro: with sublime classiness which can turn cold; she most likely did this for a hundredth time. But do it with the Singaporean Chili Crab, this will change everything. The element of surprise is there. All politeness and reservations are thrown out to the window, and that’s what you want. Believe me. You want dirty and get dirty, with the joys of food, of course. To be au naturel in everything, in every word, laugh, and smile. And the Singaporean Chili Crab can do this for you. You will see a lot sticky-finger-licking-smashing-smiling action for the rest of the evening. Treat her like a babe or a princess; be sure that you got tissues ready to clean her lips, claw crackers to help her out, and lots and lots of eye-talks.
But before anything else, buy antihistamines, in case your special someone is allergic to crabs; so you can be the boss that you are, and say: everything is under control, sweetheart.
Best enjoyed with:
- Steamed Rice
- Char Siew Pork on Noodles and Chicken Broth
- Pink Lemon Tea
- Chinese Buns or French Bread
- Bokchoy in Oyster Sauce
- Sparkling Champagne or White Wine
Restaurants that offer this dish:
- Pink Panda: Singaporean Chili Crab @ 180.00 Php per 100 grams
- Nasi Lemak: Chili Crab @ 75.00 Php per 50 grams
- Tao Yuan Restaurant: Singaporean Chili Crab @ Seasonal Price
I’ve seen Singaporean Chili Crabs in various hues, from orange to bright red. The one I photographed belonged to the orange family, and one of my earliest versions. The color will be dependent on the ratio of the cornstarch and eggs. More of these will brighten and thicken your red-chili tomato sauce. I also made the red and saucy ones, but they were not photographed due to lack of sufficient Emotional Quotient; the temptation was too great.
How to kill a hateful crab:
Handling a live king crab will make you a kitchen hero in your special someone’s eyes. Just don’t squeal and jump like a three-year-old in when the crab snaps back. But then again, I think you need practice if you haven’t done this before.
Remember, you should do it like a suave matador, with sharp knives and a winking eye. I assume that the crabs came from a legit market and tied. And we know how feisty they can be, even tied.
The first thing to do is to place them inside a plastic bag. Then put that angry fellow inside the freezer for 8-12 minutes; this will immobilize the crab; too much time in the ice cell, the crab will lose its arms, and we don’t want that. As soon as you see that the crab is sleepy get it out, and flip it over on a chopping board. Center your cleaver’s point into the heart of the crab. Then hammer the cleaver with a meat mallet (as though killing a vampire with a stake); with that, the crab is dead, offer prayers if you must. Now untie the crab, clean it with water, and brush to remove the remaining filth. Then crack the claws and slightly open the body, like King-Kong to a human.
With that, let’s start cooking!
- Mud Crabs, 2 pieces, large
- Garlic, 6 cloves, chopped
- White Onion, 4 pieces, minced (preferably Shallots)
- Red Chillies, 8 pieces, chopped
- Ginger, 1 tbsp, chopped
- Vegetable Oil and Peanut Butter, 1/2 tbs (preferably Peanut Oil)*
- Tomato Ketchup, 1/8 cup
- Tomato Sauce, 1/4 cup
- Shrimp Cube, 1/2 (Knorr Shrimp Cube or Chicken Cube)
- Water, 1 cup
- Lemon Juice, 1 tsp
- Brown Sugar, 4 tbs
- Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp
- Chinese Wine, 4 tbsp (Optional)
- Pantai Sweet Chili Sauce, 4 tbsp (Optional)**
- Cornstarch, 1/4 tsp dissolved in 100 ml Water
- Lettuce, chopped Onion Spring, Coriander for garnishing
*The Peanut Butter and Vegetable Oil mix is a substitute for Peanut Oil, since Peanut Oil is expensive in the Philippines; and I don’t want you to spend a lot.
**You can also use Jufran Sweet Chili Sauce, but the Pantai brand is way better and a little bit pricey.
- Make a puree out of Garlic, Onion, Chillies, Ginger (by chopping, or blending, or food processing them together) then set aside.
- Over medium heat, oil a dutch oven or a deep pan, then add the Peanut Butter
- Pour and simmer the puree
- Add the Chinese Wine
- Add and mix the Tomato Ketchup, Tomato Sauce, Pantai Sweet Chili Sauce, Soy Sauce, Lemon Juice, and Shrimp Cube, let it simmer
- Add Sugar, Water, and Cornstarch, adjust the desired sweetness by adding Sugar (or Water), simmer and let it thicken
- Add the Crabs, cook until its color turn to orange; do not overcook over high heat, we want a tender crab meat, not a fried stringy one
- Add and mix the egg
- Place the crab on a plate and pour the sauce over, garnish it with Lettuce, chopped Onion Spring, and Coriander
- Serve while hot
- Serves: 2
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cooking time: 30 minutes
- Dish: Singaporean
- Related recipes: Malaysian Chili Crab, Chili Crab, Chili Prawns