Every time I cook this meal, Elmer completely quiets down. He gets totally immersed into this chilli crab dish that not even 5 noisy children can perturb him.
This goes to say that we miss Singaporean food! Big time.
Well Tatay. He just keeps on talking about crabs. That is his way of saying that I love this dish!
The kids can’t stop playing with the claws.
I’ve adapted the recipe from
4 uncooked blue swimmer crabs (1.4 kg), cleaned
2 brown onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp garlic chilli sauce
125 ml vegetable oil
3 tsp shrimp paste
400 ml tomato sauce
60 ml (¼ cup) light soy sauce
55 g (¼ cup) white sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp white vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cornflour mixed with 125 ml water
1 egg, lightly beaten
coriander leaves or spring onion, to serve
I steam the crabs first.
(This helps them hold onto their own tasty flavor and keeps them from becoming drenched in water. ) Bring an inch of salt water to a boil in a large pot. I simply pile the crabs into the pot and let the bottom two crabs to boil slightly and act as a platform for the other crabs to steam. Cook 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the crabs. Remove the steamer or pull the crabs out of the pot with tongs.
Then I cook the sauce.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion, chilli garlic sauce and the shrimp paste. Fry for 6-7 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the paste begins to change colour. Add the tomato sauce, soy sauce, sugar, tomato paste, vinegar and salt, and mix through.
Add combined cornflour and water and bring to the boil. Stir through the egg.
Add the crab pieces to the sauce then toss lightly to coat. Garnish with coriander or spring onion.
1. Only buy fresh crabs from your trusted fishery. You may request to smell it before buying to check its freshness. Crabs are not cheap.
2. Garlic chilli sauce and shrimp paste are available in Asian groceries. I use Lee Kum Kee garlic chilli sauce and Barrio Fiesta for shrimp paste.