The new seafood shop in Harris Farms is absolutely beautiful and I have been wanting to take advantage of their steady stock of otherwise rare finds. First, the live crabs. Singapore Chilli Crab was the only preparation that I considered. I can't imagine a better way to eat crabs.

Looking at recipes online, however, was a bit discouraging. They varied widely. I hadn't had Chilli Crab in almost a year, and never in Singapore, so I was not confident in recognizing what would be more authentic. The one consistency was to use a tomato-based sauce, which was not how first thought to make it, but I eventually came to understand how it would come together. All of them added sugar, which I did not accept at all. Why add sugar to a sharp sauce you are serving with sweet crab meat? Some recipes steamed the crab first, some cooked in the aromatics before introducing the tomato base, and of course some cooked the crab straight in the sauce as I imagined would be the best way to do it. My final recipe is taken mostly from one on the The Gourmet Forager blog.

We bought two mud crabs about 800 g each. They killed them and cut them in quarters for us at the shop (using a band-saw).

  1. Saute finely chopped garlic, onion, galangal, lemongrass, and very hot red chilli peppers along with Crispy Prawn Chilli (basically dried chilli mixed with shrimp paste).
  2. Stir in tomato puree, tomato paste, stock, and fish sauce. I use homemade shriphead stock.
  3. Bring to a simmer then drop in the crab parts.
  4. Cover and cook over medium high heat stirring occasionally until all the crab is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the crab to the serving plates.
  6. Stir an egg into the sauce.
  7. Smother the crab with the sauce.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, basil leaves, and spring onion.
  9. Get very dirty.

Eating this is a very special experience.

Singapore Chilli Crab 1

Singapore Chilli Crab 2