This iconic dish is a favorite in Singapore, but traditionally, the crabs are fried in the chile mixture. Here we offer a healthier grilled version. Place each crab on its back, and snip off the small pointed flap at the lower part of the shell known as the apron; remove the fat beneath the apron. Rinse the entire crab well, and pat dry. Once cleaned, pop the crabs in the freezer for 30 minutes before marinating them.
10 fresh red Thai chiles, stemmed
9 large garlic cloves
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salted bean paste or red miso
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
8 (8-ounce) fresh blue crabs, rinsed and aprons removed (see recipe note above)
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro (optional)
How to Make It
Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely ground. Stir in ketchup, sugar, bean paste, and juice. Place crabs in a large bowl; top with 1/2 cup chile mixture. Toss to combine. Set remaining chile mixture aside. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Remove crabs from marinade; discard marinade. Arrange crabs, shell sides up, on grill rack; grill 12 minutes or until shells turn red. Serve with remaining chile sauce and onions. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Wine note: Always a good bet with seafood, gewürztraminer pairs perfectly with Chile Crabs. The lychee and spice flavors of Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewürztraminer Columbia Valley 2008 ($10), from Washington, complement the Asian flavors, while the wine's slight sweet apple and pear fruit counter the heat. --Jeffery Lindenmuth