Category Archives: Seafood


How to Cook Singapore Chilli Crab


Tsiju Culinary Arts shared this Singapore Chilli Crab recipe which is one of the most popular dish in Singapore hawker centers. It is sometimes known as Singapore’s unofficial “national dish” which had its humble beginnings in the country itself. In the 1950s, Madam Cher Yam Tian had a hawker stall right on the seashore, and she spent her time everyday from dusk till the wee hours of the morning cooking by the light of a kerosene lamp. One of Madam Cher’s specialities? Live crabs in a zesty chilli-spiked gravy, the first version of the Singapore chilli crab.

The recipe looks simple but I still have to try it. Just substitute the ingredients that I noted in the closed parenthesis.


1 Sri Lanka Crab (of course use our local crabs, the bigger the better)
3 tbsp. Canola oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped
8 fresh chili, chopped
2 eggs
2 spring onions, sliced
1 ginger, grated
2 tablespoon lime juice (or substitute with calamansi or lemon juice)
2 tabsp sugar
4 tbsp ketchup
1 teaspoon cornflour (substitute with corn starch)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the following for the sauce

1 cup water
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/4 teaspoon salt


1.Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.

2. Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minutes.

3. Add the chilli, stir-fry till fragrant and then the crab.

4. Fry well till shell starts turning red.

5. Add sauce ingredients.

6. Cover with lid and simmer.

7. Break eggs. Stir in spring onions and lemon juice.

Ready to serve.

The dish has evolved into many innovations:

1. some are packed with fresh spices like galangal, ginger, and turmeric,

2. some are sweet-sour and rosy with tomato, others are ribboned with beaten egg, and still others carry the sting of chilli oil.

So you can also try to innovate the Singapore Chilli Crab recipe and make it your very own.

You might want to read my food trip at the Singapore Food Festival five years ago.

or just view this youtube video

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Pateros Express small

Pateros Express: mixed sautéed seafood in salted egg sauce.

An XO46 original dish of mixed sautéed seafood in salted egg sauce.

Bicol Express is not alone. There is an original dish called “Pateros Express” from XO46 XO 46 Bistro Filipino. The dish is made of mixed sautéed seafood like shrimps, squid and fish in salted duck egg sauce. The dish was recently featured in The Maya Kitchen’s Culinary Elite Series 2015 cooking class held last May 30, 2015.

Try this unique and flavorful Pinoy dish.

Pateros Express small

200 grams medium-sized shrimps, peeled and deveined leaving the tail
200 grams squid, cleaned and cut into squares and scored
200 grams fried fish fillet
¼ cup olive oil
50 grams garlic, crushed
½ cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
3 salted eggs, separate yolks from the whites
5 grams Spanish paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, for garnish

1. Sauté shrimp, squid, fish fillet with a little bit of olive oil, garlic and white wine. Once seafood is cooked, set aside.
2. Get the yolk part of the salted egg and mash it with olive oil, lemon juice, Spanish paprika and salt and pepper. Mix the seafood with the salted egg sauce.
3. Garnish with white part of the salted egg and parsley.

Yield: 5 servings

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Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls

One of my favorite dish at Sentro 1771 is Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls. I am delighted that Vicky-Rose Pacheco from Sentro shared this recipe of fresh lumpia made of tinapang bangus, salted egg, mustasa, onions and tomato during a demo at the Maya Kitchen. It is the smoked tinapa that gives the tasty flavor of this all-time favorite lumpia. You will find out it is easy to prepare too. These spring rolls add a nice touch to any cocktail menu.

Try it.

fresh smoked fish spring rolls 1

2 pcs rice paper wrapper
2 pcs mustasa leaves, washed & trimmed
100 grams bangus tinapa flakes
15 grams tomato strips, fleshed out
10 grams red onions, thinly sliced
½ pc salted egg, sliced into 4 wedges
2 stalks spring onions, cut into 2-inch lengths


1. Prepare a wide a bowl and pour in a little water. Take a piece of rice paper wrapper and moisten in the bowl. Lay on a clean board. Do the same with the other one.
2. Lay down the mustasa on top at the center.
3. Distribute 50 grams of tinapa flakes on the mustasa, lengthwise.
4. Place some tomato strips on top, then follow with the onions.
5. Place 2 wedges of salted egg on top.
6. Roll the rice paper wrapper tightly, folding the sides and do the same with the other one.
7. Trim off the ends and cut into 4 equal pieces. Garnish with spring onion.

For more information, log on to or e-mail [email protected]

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Umbuyan tinapa flakes

Umbuyan, tinapa flakes wrapped in pechay leaves

Umbuyan is tinapa flakes sautéed in olive oil and wrapped in pechay leaves . Its origins in Manila is found in the place where Andres Bonifacio was born. When I looked for the definition of “Umbuyan”, I could only see “fish smoking house worker”, Tinapa is smoked fish so I understand the rationale behind the name of the dish. Try this recipe from the Chef of Ilustrado, the home of heritage Filipino-Spanish cuisine .

Umbuyan tinapa flakes

good for 2 persons:


¼ cup olive oil

25 gms. garlic

30 gms. onion

200 gms. tinapa flakes

9 pcs. petchay leaves

1 tbsp. fried garlic (for garnish)

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil until brown. Add the flaked tinapa and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Season sparingly (remember that the tinapa is already salty and flavorful) and set aside.

3. Spread 6 pieces of blanched petchay leaves on a food prep surface or plate.

4. Remove the stalks of the petchay leaves and chop the stalks together with the remaining 3 pieces petchay leaves.

5. In a separate bowl, mix with the flaked tinapa.

6. Scoop a spoonful of the mixture on top of the blanched petchay leaves then roll similar to how one would roll a spring roll.

7. Plate and sprinkle with the fried garlic. Serve warm or cold.

For more information, log on to or e-mail [email protected]

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Tom Yam Goong Soup (Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)

One of my favorite Thai dish is this sour hot soup called Tom Yam. I love the sour taste , the aromatic coriander flavor and the spices. During my last Bangkok trip, I bought packets of Tom Yum paste just so I can cook this dish. I have always wanted to cook this dish from scratch. The opportunity came when renowned chef J. Gamboa of Cirkulo Restaurant demonstrated Thai cooking as guest chef of The Maya Kitchen. He was joined by Chef Malichat of Azuthai Restaurant. Cirkulo and Azuthai are parts of a chain of restaurants that includes Milky Way at Powerplant Rockwell Mall and V-Mall Greenhills; Azuthai, Tsukiji and Milky Way Café all at the Milkyway Building, 900 Arnaiz Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati.

Try this Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Prawn Soup with Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime Leaves and Fresh Coriander) recipe.

Tom Yum Goong


2.5 cups Shrimp Stock
1 cup Button Mushrooms, quartered
4 pcs Oyster Mushrooms
1 pc Kaffir Lime Leaf (torn)
2 pc Lemongrass, 4 inch long, bruised
3 slices Galangal, 1/3 inch thick
3 T Thai Fish Sauce
3 T Dayap Juice (or Kalamansi or Lemon)
1.5 T Thai Chili Paste (Nam Prik Pao – available in major supermarkets)
1.5 pc Tomato, quartered
3 pc Prawns, split
¼ cup Coriander Leaves


1. Bring shrimp stock to a boil. Add mushrooms, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and galangal. Simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add fish sauce, dayap juice, Thai chili paste, tomato and prawns. When prawns are cooked in about 1 minute place in bowl and serve. Top with fresh coriander leaves.

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Crab Omelet or Tortang Alimasag

crab-omeletCrab Omelet is one my favorite omelet dish. With crab meat available in the groceries, it’s easier to prepare now. My mom used to prepare this by boiling the crabs and flaking the crab meat. The top shell is saved for filling in the crab meat. Anyway, this recipe is just plain crab omelet or tortang alimasag. A very simple dish.


1 cup flaked crab meat (you can buy this at the frozen section of the grocery)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon constarch
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon refined salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup shredded onions
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 peeled potatoes, finely diced
1/4 cup shredded celery
5 eggs

Continue reading

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Ukoy, Okoy or Shrimp Fritters

There are many ways to cook ukoy. In Vigan, ukoy like the one above is prepared from a mixture of galapong (sticky rice with water), shrimps, onions, spring onions and salt to taste. One has to prepare galapong first but I prefer to use rice flour . (You can prepare galapong though)


1 cup small fresh shrimps
1 cup rice flour (or cornstarch if rice flour not available)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup green onions part julienned
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
oil for deep fat frying


1. Cut out the whiskers from the shrimp and sharp outer shells of the shrimp’s head. Wash thoroughly and set aside.

2. Place all the rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add water to the dry ingredients and stir.

3. Place shrimps and green onions to the mixture.

4. Heat oil for frying in a the kawali. When heated, drop in the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. If particles tend to separate while frying, just gather them together with a slotted spoon to form two inches of patties. just keep gathering the particles until the patties are fully formed.

5. Fry until golden brown. Drain in paper towels.

6. Serve with a bowl of vinegar, salt, pepper and crush garlic as dipping.

serves 5

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Kilawin na Isda or Kinilaw

Just looking at the photos makes me want to eat more kilawin or kinilaw na isda. One can use either tuna or lapu-lapu fillets to make this dish. I always associate the Kinilaw with a beach outing. Preparing dishes with vinegar ensures there is little chance of food spoilage. The fish is “cooked” using vinegar as the meat turnes opaque in color. Though kinilaw may not be as popular as adobo, it certainly has a one-of-a-kind taste that many Pinoys abroad crave for.

In Philippine Food and Life (released by Anvil Publishing in 1992), Gilda Cordero-Fernando narrates of an Ilokano group who, during the Spanish period, were part of the crew English navigator Thomas Cavendish’s ship. Right after the sailors threw all the intestines of a goat into the sea, the Ilokano assistants dived into the sea for their kilawin — dipped or cooked in bile sauce or broth. The chronicler, who was ignorant of what the Pinoys were preparing, described the dish as “a disgusting mess.”

Not only goats, which is believed to be a good source of protein and calcium, however, may be made into kilawin. Beef, carabeef, fish, shelfish, including octopus are also popular options.

(Sources: Alegre, Edilberto N. and Fernandez, Doreen G. “Kinilaw: A Philippine Cuisine of Freshness.” Bookmark Inc.,1991;Cordero, Gilda Fernando. “Philippine Food and Life.” Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, 1992)

Kilawin na isda is so easy to prepare too.

Here are the ingredients:

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Grilled Prawns in Herbed Arugula Pasta

Pasta is usually easy to prepare. Here’s the twist here. You will need to make your own pasta but of course you can skip that part and just buy pasta ribbons. I first learned to make homemade pasta when my mom bought a pasta maker. I have had it with me for many years until Ondoy damaged my small Kitchen appliances . You might want to experiment with homemade pasta even without a pasta maker. It isn’t that hard since you will just form ribbons.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Pasta:
2 cups MAYA All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 piece egg
¼ cup water

8-10 pieces prawns, peeled and deveined
juice of half lemon
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil,
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon garlic minced
1 piece small onion, chopped
½ teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme)
300 g cooked homemade pasta, ribbon like shape
salt and pepper to taste
50 g fresh arugula leaves

First let us make some home made pasta:

1. Sift flour and salt in bowl.

2. Make a well at the center then add egg and water.

3. Mix then knead until smooth. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.

4. Pass dough through pasta machine or roll out using rolling pin.

5. Cut into strips or ribbon like shape as desired. Set aside.

The grilled prawns:

1. Marinate prawns in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Grill and set aside.

2. Heat oil and butter in a pan. Add in garlic and onion. Sauté until onion becomes translucent.

3. Add the dried herbs. Toss pasta and season to taste. Mix in arugula leaves and toss again.

4. Arrange shrimp on top.

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