Singapore Chilli Crab is one of my favourite dishes, something I have tried both in Singapore and Malaysia. It’s fiddly to eat but a great dish to serve to friends on a Sunday afternoon instead of a bucket of prawns. You eat it with your hands so it’s a very casual affair.
Another day, another cooking class, because one can never stop learning when it comes to food, right?
It’s not the first time I stepped foot inside Sydney’s Seafood School located at the Fish Markets in Pyrmont. I’ve been there for a few events previously, but for the first time attending a class run by the Seafood School.
Singapore Chilli and Black Pepper Crab – the 3 hour cooking class that includes a demonstration, hands on cooking experience in the state of the art kitchen and a sit down meal of the fruits of your labour with a glass of wine. It’s a sweet deal and you get to learn lots and eat lots.
When it comes to crab, I love eating it but I’ve never actually cooked with the whole thing so it was great to learn how to pick the freshest crab (we used Blue Swimmers) and how to prepare them as well.
Here are a few buying tips from Bridget, our lovely instructor:
- Seafood should not smell fishy – it should smell sweet and “of the sea”
- Crabs should have all the legs attached and no black markings around the joints. They should be relatively heavy for their size but have a hard shell.
- Keep it cold when transporting home, packed with ice from the fish monger’s.
- If wrapped in paper, remove the paper as soon as you get home as it acts as insulation from the outside in.
A few tips also for the prep:
- Place a kitchen towel under your cutting board to prevent it from slipping around the bench
- Remove the top shell by opening from the “bottom” end the scooping it upwards to get rid of the innards.
- Remove gills which are inside the shells prior to cooking as they can turn (the sause as well) bitter.
- You can also watch this quick video by the Sydney Seafood School on how to prepare your blue swimmer crab – thoroughly recommended!
- Crack the shells on the legs a little to allow sauce to infuse the meat.
- Cook until the shell turns orange, then for a further 5-8 minutes or until the meat in the “elbow” joints of the claw limbs turns opaque white.
The rest is pretty simple.
Use leftovers (picked meat and sauce) to drizzle over cooked pasta. YUM!
You can, of course, buy already picked crab meat then simply follow the instructions for the sauce, perhaps cutting the recipe in half, and add the crab meat toward the end.
I must add the Black Pepper Sauce with fresh curry leaves is to die for but I might try it with some grilled chicken and let you know the recipe then. Otherwise, if you’re in Sydney, do yourself a favour and book in for the class.
While I can’t share the exact recipe from the Sydney Seafood School with you (for that you will have to attend the class) here is a selection of recipes for this dish you can try from around the web:
For how to clean crabs and cut into segments – see this video for instructions. You can, of course, buy already picked crab meat (perhaps using 2 x 140g packs) then simply follow the instructions for the sauce, perhaps cutting the recipe in half, and add the crab meat toward the end so that it does not overcook.