Nancy's Singapore Chili Crab

Recipe courtesy of Nancy Josland Dalsin

from Green Mangoes and Lemon Grass by Wendy Hutton

3-4 lb live mud crabs (or what is available to you)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 shallots, minced
6-8 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2-3 tablespoons minced ginger
3-4 red bird's-eye chilies, minced
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons hot bean paste, or 3 tablespoons salted soybean past plus 2 extra bird's-eye chilies
1/4 cup bottled chili sauce
1/2 cup bottled tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornflour, mixed with 3 tablespoons water

Chili-Ginger Sauce
6 large red chilies, minced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water

(I cut back on the chilies)

Put the crabs in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to immobilize them. Cut in half lengthways with a cleaver and remove the back and spongy grey matter. Remove the claws and crack in several places with a cleaver. Cut each body half into two to three pieces, leaving the legs attached.

Mack Chili-Ginger Sauce by blending all ingredients in a spice grinder and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok and add shallots, garlic, ginger, and bird's-eye chilies. Stir-fry over low-medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes, then add the Chili-Ginger Sauce, Chicken stock, hot bean paste, chili sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, rice wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer 2 minutes. Add the crab pieces and simmer uncovered, turning several times, until the shells are bright red and the crabs are cooked, about 10 minutes.
Add the cornflour mixture and stir until the sauce thickens and clears. Add the eggs and stir until set, then transfer the chili crab to a serving dish and serve with crusty French bread.

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