Singapore Black Pepper Crab Burger

Updated: Mar 15

I did a Singapore Chili Crab Burger before, so creating its cousin is kinda inevitable. Lol! I had actually been toying around the Black Pepper Crab Burger for quite some time and finally, I'd decided to do it. But, I have to solve the crab patties problem. I had used a typical crab cake base for my previous chili crab burger and it fell apart the moment I tried to take a bite. I know I have to somehow improve the structure.

I saw a post from one of my Instagrammers; a croquette patty was used for a burger. Just at that light bulb moment, I remember there is a Japanese cream crab croquette and bang! This burger is born! I already had the sauce from my black pepper pizza, but instead of making a roux base, I blended up the base sauce and reduced the sauce, then mixed it with Kewpie Mayo. You can use store-bought or homemade. I will provide the link down below at the recipe write up. I decided to keep it simple without adding too many greens. I pickled red chilies in Chinese black vinegar (also inspired by one of my Instagrammers) with some salt and sugar. I added some fried coriander too.

Using the crab croquette not only gives structure to the patties, it also goes very well with every ingredient in the burger. On a side note, please use real crab meat. Do not, I repeat, do not use those imitation crab sticks! Even frozen crab meat wi butll do just fine, be sure that it is good quality. I also toasted my peppercorns to add more depth to the flavors. You can skip this step if you want to. Who knows? Maybe I will re-visit my chili crab burger after this burger is a success? Anyway, I hope you will give this recipe a try.

Ingredients:

(Make 2 burgers)

  • Crab Patties:

  • Unsalted Butter, 2 TBSP

  • Red Onion Thinly Sliced, 1

  • Granulated Sugar, 1/2 TBSP

  • Good Quality Crab Meat Fresh / Frozen, 100g

  • Sake, 1 TBSP

  • Unsalted Butter, 30g

  • Bleached All Purpose Flour, 25g

  • Whole Milk, 150g

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Canola / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, For Greasing + Frying

  • Tempura Flour, 1/2 Cup or More

  • Panko Japanese Bread Crumb, 1/2 Cup Or More

  • Eggs Lightly Beaten, 2

  • Black Pepper Mayo:

  • Black Peppercorns, 1.5 TBSP

  • ​White Peppercorns, 1/2 TBSP

  • Curry Leaves, A Handful

  • Unsalted Butter, 1 TBSP

  • Shallots Finely Minced, 3

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves

  • Fresh Red Chilies Deseeded Finely Sliced, 2 or More If You Are Awesome

  • Hoisin Sauce, 1/2 TSP

  • Vegetarian Oyster Sauce, 1 1/2 TBSP

  • Soy Sauce, 1 1/2 TBSP

  • Pure Palm Sugar Syrup, 1 1/2 TBSP

  • Chicken Stock, 3/4 Cup

  • Homemade or Store-bought Japanese Kewpie Mayo, For Mixing

  • Burger:

  • Red Chili Deseeded Thinly Sliced, 1 Or Deseeded If You're Awesome

  • Chinese Black Vinegar, 1/8 Cup

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Granulated Sugar, 1/2 TBSP

  • Coriander, A Handful

  • Fried Mantou, 2

Equipment:

  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Dutch Oven

  • Baking Tray

  • Blender

  • Spice Grinder

Directions:

  1. Please visit my “How To Make Mantou / Bao / Turnover Bao” page for the fried mantou recipe.

  2. Prepare the crab patties.

  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add butter.

  4. As soon as the butter starts to melt, add in the onion.

  5. Saute until translucent.

  6. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Add in sugar and turn the heat down to low.

  8. Continue sauteing until the onion is caramelized, about 20 to 30 mins.

  9. Add in crab meat and saute for about 1 min.

  10. Deglaze with sake, season with salt and pepper. Saute to combine well.

  11. Remove from heat and set aside.

  12. In the same skillet over medium heat, add butter to deglaze.

  13. As soon as the butter starts to melt, add in flour.

  14. Whisk to combine well and until a dough-like consistency is formed.

  15. Gradually add in milk in small portions while still whisking to combine.

  16. *Make sure no lumps.*

  17. Once all the milk has incorporated, you should get a thick saucy gravy.

  18. Add in the crab onion mixture.

  19. Stir to combine well.

  20. Season well with salt and pepper.

  21. Give it a final stir, remove from heat and transfer onto a lightly greased baking tray.

  22. Spread the mixture out evenly.

  23. Cover with cling film and freeze in the freezer for 30 mins, no more no less.

  24. While the crab meat is firming up, prepare the black pepper mayo.

  25. In a skillet over medium heat, add the peppercorns.

  26. Toast the peppercorns until aromatic.

  27. Transfer into a spice grinder and blitz until powdery.

  28. *You can use mortar and pestle, but life is too short.*

  29. Stack the curry leaves and roll it into a cigar log shape.

  30. Finely slice the leaves and set aside.

  31. In a skillet over medium heat, add in butter.

  32. As soon as the butter starts to melt, add in shallots.

  33. Saute until translucent.

  34. Add in garlic and saute until aromatic.

  35. Add in black pepper, white pepper, curry leaves and chili.

  36. Saute until the curry leaves have wilted and the mixture is well combined.

  37. Add in hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and palm sugar syrup.

  38. Stir to combine well.

  39. Remove from heat and transfer into a blender.

  40. Add in chicken stock.

  41. Blitz until smooth.

  42. Transfer back into the same skillet over medium heat.

  43. Bring it up to a slow simmer and reduce the heat down to low.

  44. Reduce the sauce to about 1/2.

  45. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

  46. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

  47. I am using a ratio of 2:1 for the mayo sauce, which is 2 TBSP of black pepper crab sauce to 1 TBSP of Japanese mayo.

  48. Mix to combine well and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

  49. Prepare the crab patties.

  50. Remove from the freezer and divide it into 2 equal portions using a weight scale.

  51. Lightly grease your hands with oil.

  52. Form each portion into a patty disc shape.

  53. Transfer tempura flour, panko and eggs into individual shallow bowls.

  54. *If you can’t find tempura flour, sift 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 TBSP rice flour and 1/2 TBSP cornstarch together.*

  55. Add canola oil into a dutch oven, about 2 inches in depth, over medium heat.

  56. *To check if the temperature of the oil is ready, place a wooden chopstick into the oil.

  57. If bubbles start to form, the temperature is ready for frying.*

  58. Dredge a crab patty into tempura flour.

  59. Shake off excess flour.

  60. Dredge into the beaten egg and lastly into panko.

  61. Gently drop the patty into the oil away from you.

  62. Deep fry until golden brown on both sides.

  63. Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  64. Repeat the process for the remaining crab patty.

  65. Set aside.

  66. Assemble the burger.

  67. In a bowl, add in chili, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar.

  68. Stir to combine well and until the salt and sugar have dissolved.

  69. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

  70. While deep frying the crab patties, drop a handful of coriander into the hot oil.

  71. *Careful as it will splatter.*

  72. Once it starts to crisp up, remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  73. Slice the deep fried mantou lengthwise in half.

  74. Spread the black pepper crab mayo onto the bottom bun.

  75. Top with the crab patty.

  76. Spoon the mayo over the patty.

  77. Top with the pickled chilies and fried coriander.

  78. Drizzle a bit of the pickling liquid over the top.

  79. Cover the burger with the top bun.

  80. Repeat the process for the remaining burger.

  81. Serve immediately.

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