Singapore Mud Crab

My Singapore Mud Crab cooking class this past weekend was a step back into prehistoric times.  When I picked them up from the fish markets and heard them in the back seat kicking around I thought this is a very strange experience taking live creatures home to kill and eat.  Nothing new in the course of the food chain but still a weird feeling.  This class was done with my good friend Chef Wanitha Tanasingam who brought the class to life by introducing the mud crab.  She explained the reason to use male vs female, taught the humane way of killing them (putting them to sleep) by putting them into the freezer and talked about their history.  I love the history of food it always makes it much more exciting to me to know where things come from.  Watching our students faces as they picked up their live crab and put them to sleep was priceless as always there were a lot of scared faces.  The recipe is fairly simple really but the outcome is amazing with the flavours of the spiced ginger, garlic and chilli embracing the soft silken texture of the crab.  Absolutely delicious!  A few tips try to buy crabs at least 800 gm as better flavour and make sure they are alive and kicking!  Let me know if you try the recipe.

Singapore Chilli Crab
East Coast Style

600-800 gm mud crab
3 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 shallots
3 cayenne chilli
2 cloves garlic, diced
5 slices ginger, finely pounded
4 cloves garlic, finely pounded
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste, homemade
1 cup water (optional)
1 egg, beaten

1.    Clean and cut the crabs into a manageable size. Halve the claws and pound the side gently to crack the shell slightly for better flavour.
2.    Cut the shallots into 2 cm lengths and separate the white part from the green part.
3.    Blend the diced garlic with the chilli. Set aside.
4.    Mix the peanut oil with the sesame oil in a bowl. Pour the oils into a warmed pan and fry the ginger till aromatic but not browned.
5.    Add the pounded garlic, soy sauce, garlic and chilli mix, and the tomato paste and stir fry until mixed well.
6.    Once the sauce is bubbling, stir in the crab pieces and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add the water slowly and stir well to combine. There should be sufficient sauce to coat (not float) the crab.
7.    Add the whites of the shallots.
8.    When you see the crab change colour to pink, add the shallot greens.
9.    Pour in the egg and cook over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes.
Serves 1
Tomato Paste
1.5 kg tomatoes
1.    Cut a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Remove, peel quickly and roughly chop. Put into a dry pan and cook till thickened, about 20 minutes.
Makes enough for 10 serves of crab

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