Chilli Crabs with Ginger and Garlic chives
By Carol Selva Rajah, Malaysian Cooking: A Master Cook Reveals Her Best Recipes
Malaysian Chilli Crab is perhaps intimidating to anyone not used to strong flavours. But the combination of bean paste, prawn paste and chilli adds a tantalising aroma to this dish. And diners are beguiled into enjoyment as they taste this extraordinary dish. Chilli crab is best cooked and eaten at home where everyone can relax and enjoy the fun of prying the crabshells with a fork or fingers to get at that final tasty morsel inside.
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 15 mins
2–3 fresh crabs (total of 2 kg/4 lbs)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon dried prawn paste (belachan), dry-roasted and crumbled
1 tablespoon brown bean paste (taucheo), rinsed to remove excess salt, mashed
8 cloves garlic, smashed with a cleaver
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek Chilli Paste or other sweet chilli paste
1/2 cup (125 ml) boiling water
2 tablespoons Chinese sweet vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
5–8 garlic chives, cut into lengths
Scrub the crabs thoroughly and rinse well. Detach the claws from each crab and lift off the shell. Scrape out and discard the gills. Quarter each crab with a cleaver and crack the claws with a mallet or nut cracker.
Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the dried prawn paste and bean paste over medium heat until fragrant, about
30 seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture. Add the garlic, ginger and Sambal Oelek or sweet chilli paste and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in the crab pieces and toss well, then add the boiling water, mixing to coat the crab well with the sauce. Cover and simmer for 3–5 minutes. Season with the vinegar, tomato ketchup and sugar, and simmer for 2 more minutes. Pour in the cornstarch mixture and toss until the sauce thickens and the crab pieces are cooked. Season with salt and remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the garlic chives and serve immediately.
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group..