How to cook the perfect Singapore chilli crab – recipe | Felicity Cloake’s How to cook the perfect …

How to cook the perfect Singapore chilli crab – recipe | Felicity Cloake’s How to cook the perfect …

The Guardian

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A sauce-splattered Singaporean signature dish that’s so good, you won’t mind the dry-cleaning bill afterwards – but what’s the definitive version?

Like fondue or a 99 Flake, Singapore chilli crab is a dish whose pleasure lies as much in its theatre as in its flavour – if you can crack your way through a crab smothered in vivid, red sauce without making a happy mess, frankly, you’re probably doing it wrong. Created, it’s said, by Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s to please a (decidedly ungrateful-sounding) husband bored with steamed crab, it’s become a delicious, sauce-splattered icon of a city that’s not afraid to get its hands, face and shirt dirty in pursuit of a good meal.

Chilli crab has come a long way since the days when Tian sold it from a pushcart in Kallang without a permit – you can even get chilli crab ice-cream at one of Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurants – yet whether you eat it from a starched tablecloth or a plastic table at a humid tze char, it’s always worth the dry-cleaning bill. But with international travel still a distant dream, is it possible to recreate the magic at home?

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