Tag Archives: Singapore Food Festival 2009

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

Babi Pongteh (Braised Pork with Salted Bean Paste)

babi-pongtehI hope you will indulge me with a few recipes the next few days. These are Peranakan dishes shared to me by the Singaporean chef in the ongoing Singapore Food Festival. You can read more about my food adventures at Multi-Cultural Gastronomic Experience in Singapore and Opening Day at the Singapore Food Festival. Just to give you a background, Peranakan culture reflects Singapore’s Multi-cultural landscape. Peranakan is a cultural juxtaposition between the Chinese and Malay or Indian and Malay resulting in a colorful and multi-faceted culture from history to costumes and jewelry. Just like us, Filipinos, our food is multi-cultural as well , heavily influenced by the Spanish, Chinese, Malay, Indian, American and many more. This Babi Pongteh recipe reminds me of our local Humba . In Humba, we use salted black beans but in the Babi Pongteh, it is Salted Bean Paste. I got to taste the salted bean paste and it is not as salty as the salted black beans for Humba. Try buying the salted bean paste at your local Chinese grocery stores. Here is the recipe developed by Shirley Tay.

Serves 10

Pork Belly (cut into pieces approx. 5cm) 2kg
Shallots 500g
Garlic 300g
Salted Bean Paste 200g
Dark Soya Sauce for colour
Sugar 100g
Oil 150ml
Water 1½ litres
Chicken Cube 1 no.

1. Blend the shallots, garlic and salted bean paste together.
2. Heat up the oil in a pot.
3. When oil is hot, add in the blended mixture of shallots, garlic and salted bean paste and fry until fragrant and slightly golden brown.
5. Then, add in the pork belly and dark soya sauce and continue frying until the pork is evenly coated.
6. Add in enough water just to cover the pork belly and stir in seasoning. Simmer for 1 hour or until the pork is tender.
7. The dish is ready to serve hot with steamed rice.

Note: This is the original recipe of Shirley Tay, a Nyonya chef at the Swissotel Merchant Court.