Singapore Chili Crab is a vibrant and flavorful dish that’s a must-try for seafood lovers. This iconic Singaporean recipe combines the sweet meat of crab with a deliciously spicy tomato-based sauce.
The origin of the Singapore Chili Crab, a beloved and iconic dish in Singapore, is often credited to Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s. Cher, with the help of her husband Lim Choon Ngee, began selling stir-fried crabs mixed with bottled chili and tomato sauce from a pushcart in Singapore. The dish quickly gained popularity, leading them to open a restaurant called Palm Beach Seafood.
Over time, the recipe for Singapore Chili Crab has evolved, incorporating various ingredients like eggs, vinegar, and sambal (a spicy chili paste) to create a more complex and flavorful sauce. Today, it stands as one of Singapore’s national dishes, celebrated for its spicy yet sweet and tangy flavors. The dish reflects Singapore’s rich culinary heritage, a blend of Chinese and Malay influences, and continues to be a favorite in seafood restaurants across the country.
Singapore chili crab recipe
Here’s how you can make it at home:
- 2 live mud crabs (about 1 kg each) or equivalent in Dungeness crabs
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger
- 2-3 red chilies (finely chopped, adjust to taste)
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 1 cup of chicken stock or water
- 2 tablespoons of chili sauce (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup of chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (optional)
- Prepare the Crabs: Clean the crabs and chop them into pieces. Crack the claws and legs slightly with a mallet to let the sauce seep in.
- Make the Sauce: In a large wok or pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and chilies, and sauté until fragrant.
- Add Liquids: Pour in the tomato sauce, chicken stock, chili sauce, sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.
- Cook the Crabs: Add the crab pieces and cover the wok or pan. Let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crabs are cooked through.
- Thicken the Sauce: Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Final Touches: Slowly pour the beaten egg into the wok while continuously stirring to create egg ribbons in the sauce.
- Garnish and Serve: Turn off the heat, add green onions and cilantro. Serve hot with steamed buns or rice.
- Freshness of Crab: The freshness of the crab is crucial. Live crabs are preferred for the best taste and texture.
- Adjusting Spiciness: You can adjust the spiciness of the dish by increasing or reducing the amount of chili and chili sauce.
- Serving: Singapore Chili Crab is traditionally served with steamed or deep-fried buns (mantou) which are perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce.
Enjoy cooking this delightful dish! Singapore Chili Crab offers a perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors, making it a memorable meal for any occasion.
Singapore Chili Crab, with its rich, spicy, and slightly sweet sauce, pairs wonderfully with several types of beverages. Here are some great options to consider:
- Riesling: A slightly sweet or off-dry Riesling works well with the spiciness of the chili. Its sweetness can counterbalance the heat, while its acidity can cut through the richness of the sauce.
- Sauvignon Blanc: This wine, with its crisp acidity and citrus notes, complements the tanginess of the dish.
- Chenin Blanc: A Chenin Blanc, especially from the Loire Valley, can be a great match with its balance of sweetness and acidity.
- Sparkling Wine: A Brut or Extra Brut sparkling wine can cleanse the palate with its effervescence and provide a refreshing contrast to the dish.
- Pale Ale or IPA: For beer lovers, a Pale Ale or an IPA can stand up to the robust flavors of the chili crab. The hoppiness of these beers can pair well with the spiciness.
- Lime Juice or Calamansi Juice: A non-alcoholic option like freshly squeezed lime or calamansi juice can provide a refreshing and citrusy counterpoint to the rich and spicy flavors of the crab.
- Ginger Beer: A non-alcoholic ginger beer offers a spicy kick that can complement the chili in the dish while adding a different flavor profile.
Remember, the best pairing is often one that suits your personal taste preferences, so feel free to experiment with different options!
Enjoy your Singapore chili crab 🦀🍺