This is one of those ultra memorable dishes that a lot of visitors to Malaysia rave about. There are a lot of seafood restaurants in Malaysia. These are commonly neighbourhood restaurants, quite basic, sometimes open air and have plastic table cloths. The menus at these places are usually just a simple list of shellfish available that day from Sri Lankan to Indonesian crabs to local prawns, all sold by the kilo. You just order enough for the size of your table and the choice of sauce. This changes from one restaurant to the other. Of course, the Chilli Crab is ubiquitous. The other popular flavours are ginger and onion, salt and pepper, marmite and belacan.
Our old favourite seafood restaurant in Kuala Lumpur is Hai Peng on Old Klang Road and more recently Greenview in SS2 in Petaling Jaya (also famous for the Sang Ha Prawn Noodles). We have been ardent fans of the chilli crab there for years and they always serve it with the old fashioned Hainan coffee shop toast.
Recreating this recipe for the #HeinzChilliSauceOff
This was a cooking competition hosted by Heinz where Lisa Faulkner was the judge. The challenge was to cook a dish using their new range of chilli sauces. The flavours are Sweet Chilli Sauce, Sriracha sauce, Jerk BBQ, Hot Pepper and Peri Peri.
I didn’t read the invite too carefully as I thought it was a cooking lesson with Lisa but instead, we had to cook. Not one to shy away from a cooking challenge, I cooked this dish, recipe below. It is not that difficult to cook. If you have never cooked or eaten crabs before, you might enjoy starting with this one. Once all the ingredients have been prepared, it is quite simple and quick to do.
This was the dish that I came up with for Lisa to judge and I won. There were 4 enormous crabs, I cooked them all so that all the others could try some too. It is a messy job eating this but you just have to get stuck in and get your hands dirty.
There were some clever dishes that night too like crab cakes, vegetarian buffalo wings (with cauliflower), chicken skewers and a fab Caribbean mango salad.
Here is the winning recipe. You don’t have to follow the exact measurements. I like to make a lot more sauce as it’s very moreish and you will want to keep dipping that toast in there. The resulting sauce should not be sweet. It is mainly hot and a bit tangy. Instead of crabs, you can use prawns in this recipe too, but use the ones with shells on.
Have a go and let me know how it goes.
Malaysian Chilli Crab Recipe
- 3 tablespoons sriracha chilli sauce
- 5 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup if you don't have any
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 cup chopped shallots about 8 ounces
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil or any other cooking oil
- 4 small crabs cleaned and split, large claws slightly cracked About 1.5kg
- 1 egg beaten
- spring onions and red chilli for garnish
- serve with toast
- Prepare the crabs, take of the main shell, take off the claws and cut the legs into two pieces.
- For the sauce, in a very hot wok, fry the garlic and ginger in a little oil. About 1 min, don't let the garlic burn.
- Put all the ingredients for the sauce (except the cornstarch) in the wok and stir, lower the heat.
- Mix the cornstarch in a few tablespoons of water to form a runny liquid. Add a few tablespoons to the sauce to thicken it. It should become a bit more gluey to adhere to the crabs.
- When the right consistency has been reached, adjust seasoning to taste.
- Add the crabs and coat with the sauce. If raw, cook this until the crabs change colour and is cooked through about 7 minutes. If cooked, then cook until the crabs are warmed through.
- Dish it all out onto one big serving platter. Sprinkle on some spring onions for colour.
- Serve hot with slices of toast or steamed rice.
Thanks to Heinz for supplying the chilli sauces.