Pepper Crabs

Chilli crab is a Singaporean classic. What tourists don’t know though, is that many locals actually prefer black pepper crabs. When we were in Singapore last December, I introduced Mangy and his brother to the fiery pepper crab and they went wild (the boys, not the crabs).We did some massive seafood shopping in Springvale over the weekend and were lucky to find female flower crabs already cleaned and ready to be cooked. I decided we’ll have pepper crabs and the end result was so tasty that Mangy proposed to me again. While he’s enamoured enough to make the same mistake twice, I’m not sure I am! So I haven’t given him an answer yet 🙂

If you’ve been waiting for a proposal, maybe this recipe will tip him over?

You’ll need:

  • 1.5kg of cleaned flower crab
  • 2 tablespoons oil

For the sauce you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 inch piece ginger – slice into thin matchsticks
  • 3 cloves garlic – sliced finely
  • 3 green chillies – sliced finely
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves – cut into half
  • 2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon roasted pepper and cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kikkoman hot and spicy marinade or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup coriander – chopped finely (reserve some of the nicer leaves for garnishing)
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and fry off the crabs batch by batch until the shell turns pink. Set crabs aside.

To prepare sauce, heat butter and oil. Add ginger, garlic, chillies, curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves and fry until fragrant. Add black pepper and fry again for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring so that pepper doesn’t burn. Add Kikkoman sauce and Oyster sauce, add chopped coriander. Add water and stir well. Add crabs, place lid on the pot and cook until crabs are cooked through. Then remove lid, crank up the heat and keep stirring. Make sure the pepper mix coats the crabs well. Stir for about 5 to 10 minutes. The pepper will start to catch on the bottom of the pan and also go a little crispy. You want this as it adds flavour. Just before serving, add pepper and cumin powder and 5 spice powder. Stir well, garnish with fresh coriander. Enjoy!


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