I was looking up Chilli crab recipes when I stumbled upon a Malaysian Supperclub dedicated to Chilli crab at Edible Experiences. My heart skipped a beat. There are people who can do that, really? I was sold.
Now I don’t want to mislead you, it’s not like I was intending to make Chilli crab, my culinary persuasions aren’t quite at that level yet. At the risk of sounding like a spoiled child (Despite my advanced age!), I was really hoping my Mum would make it for me and I could simply hand her the recipe on a plate. Brat much?
It’s been months since my last Chilli crab hit (see my eating adventures in Singapore here) and after seeing Wild Serai’s gorgeous menu, it was a no-brainer, sister & I were sold and we trekked out to New Malden (No, I didn’t know where that was either!).
We arrive to a cosy house and are immediately handed Watermelon cocktails to sip alongside our Keropok (Prawn crackers to the uninitiated). Served with gloopy sweet chilli sauce, the Keropok are more-ish, but I’m not a champion eater for nothing and there was nothing going to get between me and my crab, so I contained myself after the first nibble and waited on Course 2. And yes, I was positively radiating smugness.
I got through those cocktails alarmingly quickly but they were so delicious I couldn’t really help myself, watermelon’s not an ingredient that features often enough in cocktails, but it will be making an appearance in the 30’s household pretty soon. Chicken Satay makes an appearance next to get us back on even keel.
The chicken satay is served simply, grilled succulent morsels of chicken served with satay sauce. Now despite what atrocities may have been committed in the takeaways & supermarket shelves around you, it is NOT just a bit of peanut butter blended up with some bits – truly fantastic satay sauce is peanuty, a bit fishy, gluggy in texture, spicy and rich. And with a bite of chicken positively smothered in the sauce, it takes me back to my childhood in Malaysia, Satay being a standard dietary fixture and one I never imagined I would miss so much.
The table is bonding over satay gluttony and having never been to a supperclub I admit I had a sneaking fear that it was going to be like those awkward conversations you have at the breakfast table of a B&B, but within minutes we’re all chatting away like old friends, stopping only when the next course arrives, steaming, fragrant and hot. The main event itself, drum roll please, the Chilli Crab!
Yolanda explains that this Chilli crab is a little bit different to the crab sauces we may be expecting, with a more sour flavour, compared to what is used in most restaurants and true enough, it’s not what I expect. The sauce is still quite runny and is so easily soaked up by the Mantou buns; the hot soft rolls that go so well with the spicy yet sweet sauce currently dripping all over my hands. No matter, we’re all friends here and I feel absolutely no shame in licking my hands.
Sambal Prawns and Kang Kong Belachan make up the sides, although in any setting other than this, they would never be considered sides, they’re heroes in their own right. These prawns are positively enormous and drowning in spicy sambal, it goes perfectly with the equally zingy but complementary Kang Kong (Water Spinach) cooked in Belachan, a strong smelling shrimp paste. No really, it’s delicious, much better than that may sound!
Full almost to breaking point, it’s with some trepidation that I approach the advent of dessert. Ice Kacang is a bit of a random dessert, I can admit it. It’s shaved ice with syrups and coconut milk (so far so normal you’re thinking), hiding underneath it’s multicoloured hues a jumble of multicoloured jellies, red bean and sweet corn. Yep, told you it was weird. But just wait till you try it, it’s refreshing, ice cold and a bit mad.
The genius here is the addition of Rose syrup – suddenly this dessert has gone from something I had to explain to Husband’s incredulous look to something incredibly sophisticated and grown up, whilst still retaining it’s unique concept. This is another thing that I will be trying out at home – watch out friends, you’re going to be subject to a lot of experiments.
We’ve been having such a great time that we’re paying absolutely no attention to the clock and since we’re in New Malden, it behooves us to pay attention to the train schedule and reluctantly we make to tear ourselves away. But through spooky coincidence, our new friends are actually my neighbours and generously offer a lift home, earning everlasting gratitude.
I’m already plotting when I’ll be back (Nasi Lemak experience – see you there right?), mouth watering at the very thought of one of my absolute favourite Malay dishes of all time. The hospitality, warmth and sheer cooking prowess of this power couple is not to be underestimated and I can wholeheartedly recommend traversing over to share their passion for Malaysian cuisine.