October 3, 2007


Scary lil buggers aren't they.I would admit that they do look fairly intimidating to us kitchen amateurs.... especially crabs of the LIVE and moving variety! *laughs*.. I buy them unconscious... its the only way I'll lay my hands on these claw-y crustaceans.
I can vaguely remember my first attempt at taking crabs apart. Family and friends were cooking fresh live crabs from the ocean straight into salted boiling water in a huge stockpot. They were delicious! The meat was as fresh as it was gonna get. No sauce..no seasoning...just finger licking good crab meat full of flavour! I was fairly young then..and didn't have much of an idea on how to work my way around the hard shells. I watched the older ladies at the table for a little while..and eventually figured out on my own; where the gills were, where the soft bit of the shell was...and how to tear it apart.
Eating crab is messy...dirty and so much fuss! I personally think it's fun to have friends over and dig at crab shells together. It reminds me of treasure hunting! *laughs* The more complicated it is to get out...the more precious and delicious it will be! It's nice to have fingers full of sauce to lick...and shells to crack before having a good juicy piece of white flesh! MmMmm*.. crabs are fun...
Especially if you make them in sweet and sour Chilli Crab Sauce !!!
Here's my recipe... it doesn't taste exactly like the Singaporean variety of Chili Crab... but it's definitely just as yummy! I like my chili crabs with more CHILI! more garlic...less sweet...and an added touch of lemongrass "ZiNG"

3 Fresh whole crabs
1 Cup Plain Flour
1/2 cup groundnut oil
2 stalks shallots
2 eggs beatenGRIND these ingredients in a blender to form a smooth paste:
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 stalk lemongrass; end removed
  • 1 inch cube ginger
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 5 Red chilies

MIX sauce ingredients in a medium bowl:
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 piece red preserved bean curd (can be found at most Chinese supermarkets)
  • 2 cups water/seafood stock
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar
  • 3 tbsps cornflour
Lay out crabs in this position; with bottom side up..
Peel the little white flap on the edge upwards...and pull it outwards to expose.
Holding still... flip the crab over and with the other hand...peel off the hard top shell connected to the little white flap you were holding on to.

Remove the gills.
Break this crab piece into 2 halves.
Pull off each claw on each side.Repeat with 2 other crabs and put all pieces into a large bowl. Toss with flour to coat.

Heat oil in a deep wok and cook coated crabs on high flames till shells begin to turn pink.

Remove from heat...and set aside.
Save 3 tbsps of oil in the wok and throw in the ground ingredients.

Cook on medium flames for 2-3 minutes till fragrant. Add in the sauce mixture and stir well.

Finally toss in the crabs and shallots into the sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes till the crab meat is cooked through. Take the wok off the stove and add in the beaten egg in a thin stream while stirring and mixing well.

Serve piping hot with rice...bread..or crackers~
I personally prefer bread... bread is good to use while wiping down my messy plate of delicious red spicy sauce. Hehe.. I eat like a caveman sometimes.You can make these with the soft shell crab variety too! I got a hold of some frozen ones..but they didn't turn out too well. They were pretty cheap; I should have guessed the fishmonger was being dodgy~ *laughs*Well...here's how you take the gills off of the soft shell crabs.. they are very fragile..and you'll have to be fairly gentle with handling them. I coated them in seasoned flour and deepfried them before serving them on top of the same sauce.


ashieBee said...


i miss eating crabs :S my mum cooks the best crabs every :D :D :D that looks yummy suyin!


Manggy said...

You're good to process the crab before cooking it! All the crabs I've ever eaten had all the mostly-inedible stuff intact!

marias23 said...

wow! u r so adventurous! great step-by-step too! this is gonna make my copy cat attempt at chili crab easier ;)

Anonymous said...

hi SuYin,
you're a godsend. i hv been wondering how to process crabs before cooking for like forever...and here, you are giving the steps on how to do just that. you're an angel SuYin.

GG said...

Su Yin, u're really patient on teaching us step by step. Salutes to you! thanks, i loveeeeeee crab, will try to cook this some day ;)

Anonymous said...

i read your FAQs and saw tat u use picasa to edit ur pics. but i cant seem to get 4/5 photos in 1 collage. it overlaps terribly. at most, it can only fit 2.

pls teach me how do i go about it?

Maggie Lyin

Anonymous said...

One thing - you should have a lil section about how to kill the crab in a humane way... (here I go again about food ethics). -_- ie. The crabs look yummy... I sorely miss eating crabs since I found out that I am allergic to it...


Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

ashiebee: thanks! why dont you try it too?

manggy: yea, that really turns me off the eating process. Especially if the inedible bits are gunky

maria: hope it works out well for ya! :)

anonymous: glad to be of help. you're too sweet.

gg: would love to know how it turns out!

maggie lyin: Hmmm... i used to have those problems too... thats y I never have more than 3-4 pics in one collage. It's hard to get around it. After awhile; you'll get te feel of what pictures can be made into collages...what which pictures can not. If the main item is in the center of the picture...and fairly far from the edge; it makes things easier.

kian: hmm... humane way of killing crabs...*shrug* honestly i have no idea... i like them alive... but sleeping (frozen) when I crack them open. dying in their sleep with no pain would probably be humane enough for me :p hehehe.
Pile up on anti allergy pills :P my mom's allergic to seafood too; but she wont miss having a big yummy plate of it! hahah... she feels the pain after though :P

Anonymous said...

OMG, they were still alive when you pulled them apart! I thought the humane way was to kill them first. Poor crabs.