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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Chili Crab

I developed this after I ate a wonderful Chili Crab in an apartment block cafeteria in Singapore on the way home in 2003 from our first trip. I kept experimenting until I came up with something with a similar flavour - but without the sugar.

½ cup water
½ cup ketchup (I use Napoli Sauce ) or 1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili flakes or 1 small chopped chili (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp splenda

About 1 kg of live crab (2-3 lbs) or half that weight dressed.
1 tbsp of peanut or olive oil
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
grated ginger to taste
1 chopped hot chili to taste
1 sliced medium onion
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch) or a little guar gum as a carb-free alternative.
¼ cup water

Pre-cook the crab in boiling water. Divide the crab into appropriate portions, cracking legs and claws with the back of a heavy knife and set aside.

Mix sauce ingredients, set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or heavy pan and stir-fry the onion and chili. Add ginger and garlic, fry briefly. I often add some chopped celery or carrots or greens at this stage as a variation.

Add the crab and stir-fry for two minutes then add the sauce and stir while heating for another five minutes or until crab is heated through.

Mix cornflour and water and add to the pan. If you are using guar gum you will need a little practice to get the quantity right for consistency; if in doubt start with too little. Cook and stir until the sauce is set and ready to serve.

Serve as is or with basmati rice if carbs are OK. Supply damp towels for diners - they will need them. This is not a dish to serve to a food snob who won't use their fingers.

You can separate the crab-meat out before cooking; but in that case make sure you still put some of the shell into the wok when stir-frying for the flavour that infuses into the sauce. Then you can remove the shell before serving for the more "genteel" diners.

Bon Appetit.

Cheers, Alan

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