The supermarket near my apartment has recently started to sell live seafood. So when we were there buying some fresh produce we asked one of the staff whether they could kill live crabs for us. And the answer was yes. So the week after we purchased one large size mud crab and had it killed. I then placed the crab pieces into the fridge when I got home to be cooked later in the evening for our dinner. Did you know that several versions of Chilli crab recipes exist in Asia? I guess the most popular one would be the Singapore Chillie Crab which has now become an icon to the country. Every single tourist visiting Singapore will definitely not miss out on tasting this national dish. However this version which I had chanced upon happened to be a version from my own country - Malaysia. It is slightly different from the chillie crabs that I have eaten in Singapore but this particular version had a distinct flavour on its own. Well for one, my hubby really enjoyed it! It says quite a bit already as he is not one who likes "fighting with his food" - that's how he terms eating crabs with fingers, that is.
Chillie Crab (Malaysian Style)
Recipe Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
1 Dungeness or Mud Crab (about 1 kg in weight)
1 sprig of coriander (chopped for garnishing only)
1 tablespoon of sugar (more if required)
2 tablespoons of tamarind juice
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1/4 cup of water
5 dried red chilies (soaked in hot water and deseeded)
2 fresh red chillies (cut into 1" slices)
1 tablespoon of taucheo (fermented yellow bean sauce)
2 small shallots
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger
2 inches of lemon grass (the white part only)
5 seeds of tamarind, add 2 tablespoon water and squeeze out the juice
1) Clean the crab and chop it into pieces.
2) Grind the spice paste in a blender or food processor until it is finely blended.
3) Soak the tamarind seeds in some warm water for 15 minutes. Extract the juice and discard the seeds.
4) Heat up deep frying pan or chinese wok and add cooking oil.
5) Stir fry the spice paste until fragant and spicy.
6) Add the crab and 1/4 cup of water and do a quick stir. Cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes.
8) Add in sugar, tamarind juice, a little salt to taste and continue stirring for about 2 minutes or until all crab pieces turned red.
9) Dish up, garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.
1) If you are not sure how to clean the crab, ask if your local market can do this for you.
2) Make sure you crack the shells of the crab (especially the claws) before cooking. (I used a small hammer to do this)