2015 was a rather exciting year for me in the ‘writing department’ of my creative outlets. I was blessed to be able to contribute five articles to the Overseas Singaporean Unit’s project, ’50 Icons Of Singapore’ which had been published into an anthology of stories. Our collective voices in the book was a beloved tribute to Singapore’s 50th jubilee, celebrating the 50 icons Singapore is uniquely known for. (P.S. Special thanks to editor Mic Tay for your long suffering patience and sweet tips, Koi & team for a wonderful collaboration–I had great fun!)
Just in case Christmas hasn’t done your diet in, I have also included with one of my 5 stories (click here to read the article SG50 Icons of Singapore #46 – Chilli Crab), my personal secret recipe for Singapore Chilli Crab! It would be the star dish at my Chinese New Year dinner this year. Gong Hei Fatt Choy in advance!
The anthology is based on a collection of the nostalgic sentiments of some 28 Singaporeans (like myself; living overseas) and I feel grateful for the opportunity to reminisce and retell many of my childhood tales growing up in the beautiful sunny island of Singapore, today famous for a lot more world-renowned glories and triumphs than simply just the ‘food and shopping paradise’ that it is so well known for.
I’ve also loved reading all the stories of the other scribblers. You can easily sense, through their stories, their never-ending enthusiasm and affection for this lovely little island nation. Together, may these charming anecdotes and tributes inspire every Singaporean living abroad to keep connected to our little red dot—undoubtedly one of the most special corners of the planet one could live in.
Just in case Christmas hasn’t done your diet in, I have also included with one of my 5 stories (click here to read the article ‘SG50 Icons of Singapore #46 – Chilli Crab’), my personal secret recipe for Singapore Chilli Crab! It would be the star dish at my Chinese New Year dinner this year. Gong Hei Fatt Choy in advance!
Big love xx
Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe
Mud Crabs (2 pieces)
Spice Paste (Rempah):
250g Shallots (diced or blended finely in processor)
100g dried shrimps/hae bee# (soaked in warm water then blended finely)
2 cm cube ready roasted belachan*
2 large red chillies, blended finely
1 spring onion stalk, sliced
1 cube of ginger, about 3 cm (grated finely).
Chilli Crab Gravy Sauce:
2 Cups Tomato Passata
2 TB Oyster sauce
2 TB Sugar
1/4 Cup Shao Xing Chinese wine
Soy sauce & white pepper (to taste)
2 Cups Chicken stock
1 large egg (beaten)
2 TB cornflour dissolved in a little warm water
*fermented shrimp paste=belachan(Malay) #hae bee(Hokkien; Chinese dialect)=dried shrimps
First, prepare the mud crabs for cooking by cleaning and removing the unwanted bits and pieces. Divide each crab into 4 parts by breaking the joints of the claws from the main body. Smash the claws and hard shells a little either with a nutcracker or using your mortar and pestle. Set aside.
Process the shallots, dried shrimps (hae bee) and chillies together in a food processor or smash them up finely using mortar and pestle.
Heat up your wok with about 3 TB peanut oil till slightly smoking, then saute the rempah (spice paste) till fragrant. Add the ginger and spring onions to the paste, continue to saute further. Add the mud crab pieces into the wok and stir-fry them in the rempah.
Once the shells turn slightly orange, add the ingredients for the gravy sauce, adding the chicken stock last. Cover the wok to let everything come to a simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes. Open the cover to check that the crab is fully cooked (shells will be orangey-red) and the flesh is opaque. Add the beaten egg into the gravy, adding more water if it is too dry. Add the dissolved cornflour into the gravy to thicken. Add more hot water if required.
Serve hot with some fried mantou (chinese buns), white jasmine rice or with some French baguette rolls! However you like it, the gravy is something to mop up with relish—don’t waste a drop!