Chilli Crabs


Chilli crabs, a must order dish in Singapore. I haven’t tried the authentic Singaporean chilli crabs before but this version must be somewhere there (hopefully). A super-easy chilli crabs recipe from my recipe guru Fariza. Sweet, sour, juicy with a hint of spice – definitely a crowd pleaser. The best thing is, all the ingredients are probably sitting in your pantry as we speak.

Terry is a BIG fan of crabs but I have always avoided crabs at the supermarket like a plague because I don’t know what to do with them. I guess the clamps and shell and the size scared me! Terry must be craving for crabs really bad because one day, he bought 4 live crabs at the Avondale morning market while my back was turned buying onions! It was really cheap he said. Thank goodness for Fariza  😉

Even armed with Fariza’s recipe, I still had another problem. I didn’t know how to prepare the crabs for cooking. I have frozen the poor crabs to death from the day before and determined to just do it. I was surprised at how easy it actually was! With the crab’s belly facing upward, I stuck the knife’s tip into it’s behind, held the top shell down with it and pulled its body upward. Voila, the top shell separated revealing the juicy flesh. I halved each crab symmetrically and rinsed everything. Now let’s start cooking!

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1 kg of crabs (4 medium-sized) – cleaned, top shell removed and halved
  • Half cup sweet chilli sauce (I used Thai sweet chilli sauce)
  • Half cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (I used meat curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli paste or 1 fresh red chilli chopped fine (optional)
  • 2 medium onions – one sliced, the other chopped fine
  • 1 inch bulb of ginger – sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, stir fry garlic, onion, ginger and chilli paste (if using) on medium heat until soft. 
  2. Turn to low heat, cover with lid and let it fry on its own as you prepare sauce mix.
  3. In a bowl, mix sweet chilli sauce, ketchup, curry powder and add water until you get a thick soup consistency.
  4. Pour sauce mix into saucepan, stir and turn to high heat.
  5. As the sauce boils, add in the crabs, stir gently so that crabs are covered or smeared with sauce.
  6. Add in sliced onions (no need to stir in), turn to low heat, cover and simmer until crabs turn pink. If you find sauce is too thick, add some water.
  7. Serve hot with rice or fried mantou buns.

The verdict – really yummy chilli crabs, Terry approves! I love the chilli sauce with a hint of curry and the rich flavours from the crab juices. Excellent with rice or bread. Crabs can now be on my menu thanks to Fariza 😉

Try this easy chilli crabs recipe yourself!

P.S. This fits the plan perfectly too (evil grinnnnn….)

 

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Malaysian Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce


Our little project one weekend was to make Malaysian chicken satay with peanut sauce (which is also good for Pasembur, see end of post) – delicious spicy-sweet yumminess of grilled chicken meat on skewers served with a rich peanut sauce. There are many versions of Malay chicken satay recipe on the internet, this particular one was obtained from my friend Fariza who has tried, tested and proven that this recipe produces the most authentic Malay satay flavour!

The recipe is actually a simple one, but it calls for a variety of spices that I had to hunt around for. But once you managed to gather these, following it is easy-peasy. There are basically two main parts in executing this recipe; you have the chicken satay marinade, and the peanut sauce. Both of them uses similar spices but in different portions.These spices are galanghal, coriander seeds, cumin, lemongrass, turmeric and ginger. And oh also don’t forget bamboo sticks as skewers. Now, let’s get started!

Chicken Satay

1. Blend the following until a paste is formed:

  • 1 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 and a half tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1-inch bulb of galanghal
  • 1-inch bulb of ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic

2. Season the paste by stirring in the following:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

3. Cut up 500 grams of chicken flesh into bite size pieces, marinade at least 2 hours with all the above.

4. Once marinated, stick about 4-5 pieces of chicken bites onto a skewer. Repeat until everything is skewered.

5. Grill chicken satay skewers in an oven preheated at 180 degree Celcius for about 30 minutes or until cooked, basting once in between with the leftover marinade.

Peanut Sauce

6. Blend the following until a paste is formed:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • Half-inch bulb of galanghal
  • Half-inch bulb of ginger
  • 10 pieces dried red chilli or 1 tablespoon of chilli paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dried shrimp
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 medium onions
  • 1 stalk lemongrass

7. Mix the following ingredients in a separate bowl:

  • 150 grams of raw peanuts (shelled and skinned), pounded coarsely
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of tamarind paste diluted with 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

8. Sautee the blended paste (step 6) in about half a cup of hot oil in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently until fragrant about 15 minutes.

9. Pour in ingredients of step 7 into the saucepan and simmer in low heat, covered for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and/or sugar if necessary.

10. Serve chicken satay with fresh cucumber and onion cubes, with hot peanut sauce as dip.

The result – very authentic Malaysian chicken satay! This recipe works well for beef and lamb too.

If there is leftover peanut sauce, don’t throw it out, we made our own version of Pasembur, a Malaysian-Indian salad out of it. We used blanched and cut Chinese Spinach (Ong Choy), boiled potato cubes, shredded carrots, beansprouts, boiled eggs (quartered) and fried wanton pastry broken into bite sizes then poured the peanut sauce over as dressing. For a more hearty meal, mix in a serving of spaghetti noodles, cooked slightly a little over al-dente. Finger-lickin’ good!

Oooh, writing this post makes me crave for some authentic Malaysian chicken satay and peanut sauce!

Happy trying!

A Day For Spicy Meatballs


Earlier this week, I read about Kimberly’s Jizzgasmic Meatballs recipe which triggered my cravings for meatballs. I also thought that it was interesting that she used fresh chillies in her meatballs. I imagine it would give a lovely flavour kick to the meatballs and put a mental note to try it someday.

This morning I looked out the kitchen window to our backyard and there, an abundance of bright red chillies dangling from my flatmates’ chilli plants were screaming to be picked. (Hannah and Murray had mentioned that we should help them use up the chillies). I opened the fridge and was reminded I still have 3 slices of stale expired leftover bread in the freezer which will be good as breadcrumbs. I then looked into the kitchen cabinet and saw that the jar of pasta sauce I bought on special more than 3 weeks ago was yet to be opened. Then, there were packets of pasta – penne and spirals, which were given by a friend, still sitting in the shelf.

It was like I was given signs that I should make meatballs today!

Before I started, I recalled reading a lovely blog post Jane Ward had written in remembrance of her father and his special meatballs recipe. In her post, she mentioned her father’s meatballs were tender and flavourful. The secret was, he cooked the meatballs raw in the tomato sauce itself without frying it prior. Although initially shocked and worried that the meatballs might not be cooked through, she and her mother decided that his father’s meatballs were the best they ever tasted.

So, I decided to fry half of my meatballs prior to simmering in the sauce and the other half, I dropped them raw into the sauce to taste the difference myself. I used pork mince in this recipe because Kimberly used pork and also because I’ve never tried making pork meatballs before. Plus, Terry is more of a pork person than beef. However, I am very confident beef mince would work just the same.

Ingredients for meatballs:

  • 200g pork mince
  • 2 fresh red chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • Breadcrumbs from 3 slices of bread (about half a cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (from the bottle), or Basil or Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Ingredients for tomato sauce:

  • ~3 cups pasta sauce or 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste if required
  • Grated cheddar cheese or parmesan (optional)

Method:

  1. To make breadcrumbs, I microwaved  and cooled the slices of bread alternately in a microwave, 2 minutes at a time until they are completely dry and crispy. Then I break them into pieces and pounded them into breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for meatballs in a big bowl.
  3. Shape the mince mixture into one-inch meatballs. Set aside.
  4. Heat a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the meatballs gently until browned and remove. If you are planning to drop them into the sauce raw, you may skip this step.
  5. Using the drippings in the pan, fry the chopped onions and garlic until fragrant. Top up with more oil if necessary.
  6. Pour in pasta sauce and stir in all seasonings. Add in about a cup of water and stir well.If you like it cheesy, you may add some grated cheese at this point. I added two tablespoons of leftover sun-dried tomato dip which has parmesan and ricotta cheese in it.
  7. When the sauce boils, carefully add in your meatballs, either raw or fried and stir a little to make sure meatballs are covered or smeared with sauce.
  8. Turn to low heat and simmer it covered for about 10 to 15 minutes or until raw meatballs are completely cooked.
  9. Serve hot on your favorite cooked pasta, garnished with grated cheese if you like.

I like the flavour that the fresh chillies are giving my meatballs and that slight heat. I find the meatballs dropped raw into the sauce to cook is indeed more tender but the taste is pretty similar to the ones fried. Next time, I won’t bother to fry the meatballs first, I’ll just drop them into the sauce to cook in one go. One less step, one less hassle 😉

This is a very versatile recipe for a classic comfort food dish. You can pretty much use any spices you want in the meatballs or sauce as long as it’s not too bizarre. I think I added a bit of everything I had in my kitchen in this recipe. Go crazy with it and happy trying!