I first "met" the Singaporean Crab at Singapore! Ha...Where else? :) And that is where my love affair with crabs began. It was followed by multiple visits to a lot of restaurants back home at Delhi, all in search of crabs.
The one that we loved the most was the butter garlic version that Swagath did. No surprises here once again. I am HUGE garlic fan, a love that I share with my little chefling. Just yesterday she told me that she loved me a lot. When questioned and how much would that be...yes I am pretty cheap like that...I like to give it a number...she gave an example instead. "More than I love garlic, mamma",she said. And that kind of made me do a happy dance all day long.
But I digress.
At that one time at Singapore I tried both the chilli crab (supposedly the unofficial national dish there) and the black pepper crab. I have to say that I was a bit partial to the latter though. It could have been because of the pepperish aroma and the heat or because it was dry and hence a little lighter than its saucy partner.
Many more crabs later when we recently relocated to Dubai we decided to go crab hunting once again (Figuratively ofcourse. Crabs are something that I haven't tried making at home. All that rinsing, cleaning, boiling seemed like a lot of work each time I thought of trying it at home. One Day).
So when the team at Chimes invited me for their October Crab Festival I had to say yes.With the Singaporean chilli crab, Singaporean pepper crab, a salt and pepper crab and an interesting Malaysian butter crab on their menu I had a tough time to choosing for they were pretty large. So we decided to do away with the appetizers and decided to try out two instead.We ordered the Singaporean chilli crab (to give it one more chance to win my heart) and the new introduction on their menu, the Malaysian Butter Crab.
Succulent, spicy, sweet and sour all at the time; sitting pretty and all red in a chilli and tomato sauce and topped with eggs. That was the Chill crab. With the crab claw cracker in one hand and rolled up sleeves I began the job at hand. Digging out the creamy bits. Tons of wet wipes helped. Have to say it was a lovely rendition of the chilli crab I had the last time at Singapore. The chilli crab was first made by Cher Yam Tian at Singapore. Read all about it here.
Though my partner liked the chilli crab better, for me it was once again the other crab. As I understand the Malaysian Butter Crab is fairly new to Malaysia. Looks like it is Malaysia’s reply to Singapore (In September 2009, Malaysia’s then tourism minister, claimed that the Chill crab was actually a Malaysian recipe and accused Singapore of hijacking their food. And yes, I am not making this up. Crustacean war, anyone?).
I do have a soft corner for everything that shouts coconut and I did think it was the coconut that was giving it that creamy consistency. The chef told there wasn't any! It was the evaporated milk. Learning for the day.
The addition of the curry leaves fried in hot oil with its distinct woodsy flavour made my taste buds sing. If you have never smelt a curry leaf I suggest you get a fresh one and smell it. Or if fresh isn't available get a dry one and crush it between your palms. You will be a curry leaf slave forever. I assure you. The fried egg yolks strings complemented it pretty well.
Making our way through two crabs definitely required some elbow grease but the rewards were worth it. So if you are a seafood enthusiast I strongly recommend you try the crabs there I know, I am going back for some more pretty soon:)
Go get your bibs out and devour those crabs!
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