Lasagna, enchiladas, crepes – oh my.  I love creating and eating classic dishes from other countries, but to be honest, I’ve never ventured far past the “usual suspects…” until now.  



Here is my entry for Challenge #2 of Project Food Blog – my twist on a classic ethnic dish.


BFF Lauren recently moved from Philadelphia to Singapore for work.  Having my best friend on the other side of the globe is hard, but thanks to G-Chat and Skype, we’ve managed to keep in touch as well as before.


Lauren says that the financial district of Singapore is super exciting.  She works crazy hours, but she does manage to get out and explore the area with her co-workers (many are Americans, too). 


I asked Lauren what exactly she eats in Singapore, and she mentioned that one of the most popular dishes is Crab Chili.  Crab Chili is everywhere in various forms – as a dip with fried potatoes, served over rice, slopped on gooey white bread. 


Lauren tried this Crab Chili dip at the bar and said it was pretty epic.


Her experiences with Crab Chili made me curious to try making my own (vegetarian) version of this classic Singapore dish.


It’s spicy, and it’s savory.  The flavors are complex and unique.  If you love Asian food, I promise you’ll like this twist on Crab Chili.


Singapore’s Crab Chili (Vegetarian-style)


Ingredients (makes 3 servings of dip):


  • 3 white potatoes
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons green chilies
  • 1.5 tablespoons garlic
  • 1/4 cup black beans with sauce
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Sprinkle of freeze-dried cilantro




  • Wash potatoes and stab with a fork.  Wrap in wet paper towels and microwave for 3 – 4 minutes to soften.


  • Meanwhile, heat enough olive oil to fry the potatoes in a medium saucepan.  In a separate wok, heat the sesame oil.
  • Remove potatoes from microwave and slice into thick chunks.  Drop into hot olive and fry.  Put on low heat.
  • Turn wok to medium heat so the oil is not smoking.  Add ginger, green chilies, and garlic.  (Chop ginger so it’s much finer than the picture below!)


  • When ginger begins to brown, add black beans with sauce, white wine vinegar, diced tomatoes in sauce, red curry paste, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
  • Cook for ten minutes.
  • Meanwhile, flip fries once and add salt.
  • Beat eggs in a small bowl and add to chili mix.  Cook without stirring for 2 minutes, stir, and then cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Plate fries and chili dip.  Sprinkle with cilantro.
  • Serve and enjoy.




This was SUCH an amazing and flavorful dip.  It was a little heavy, of course, and would be wonderful with an Asian-inspired salad for an entree.


Thanks to everyone who voted me through Round 1 of Project Food Blog.  Voting for Round 2 – which specifies that bloggers should create their own twist on an ethnic classic – begins tomorrow evening.  I’ll be sure to post the link!


What is your favorite ethnic dish?



  • hippierunner September 26, 2010, 1:26 pm

    That looks really good! So, the black beans are what give it substance? My favorite ethnic dish is falafel! Yum, yum.

  • Katie (Sweet Tater) September 26, 2010, 1:28 pm

    i love it! brilliant

  • Marina September 26, 2010, 1:31 pm

    Amazing recipe, I’ll definitely make this!
    Hm…spanakopita I guess. Or maybe lasagna. Or germknoedel. Bretzel. Czech cabbage with dumplings…
    I adore all kinds of ethcnic dishes 😀

  • Stacey September 26, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Holy yum. Is it sad that the only ethnic dish I can think of is sweet and sour thai tofu?? 😀 When I was at FitBloggin’ I really enjoyed Lebonese food but I can ‘t remember the name of any of it. I just know that it was fried and had a yogurty dressing for dipping!

  • grocery goddess jen September 26, 2010, 1:42 pm

    How inventive, Caitlin! Gosh, I grew up around Italian food, so I love that, but I love Mexican food, vegetarian sushi, Indian….I think I like ethnic food better than American food, usually!

  • Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth) September 26, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Looks delicious. I’ll be sure to vote for you.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) September 26, 2010, 1:53 pm

    This is great Caitlin. When you said crab chili I was wondering how you would vegetarianize it? But it looks great! A must try.

    My favorite is actually spanish paella. I had great versions in Spain but just had a vegan version in NYC and loved it!

  • Freya September 26, 2010, 1:59 pm

    Awesome recipe!! You get my vote 🙂
    I don’t really know any ethnic dishes..I mean, I probably do – I just haven’t a clue where they come from!

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns September 26, 2010, 2:00 pm

    Looks so good! Success!

    Gotta love tamales! Probably my favorite ethnic dish ever.

  • Erica September 26, 2010, 2:01 pm

    What an epic dish! I love the idea of having the fries for dipping!!!!! Favorite ethnic dish…hmmm….I like greek style bowls with lots of feta, chickpeas & grain mixtures

  • Jessica@tastyandtrim September 26, 2010, 2:04 pm

    That dish looks so flavorful and delicious – YUM! My favorite ethnic dish would have to be enchiladas. I have a special place in my heart for mexican cuisine 🙂

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks September 26, 2010, 2:04 pm

    That looks seriously good! I am so going to make this soon!

  • Little Bookworm September 26, 2010, 2:10 pm

    Favourite ethnic dish – Aloo Gobi (Indian food). Great post Caitlin!

  • Lauren September 26, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Crab Chili sounds amazing! You did a wonderful job recreating this signature dish.

  • Kristina @ spabettie September 26, 2010, 2:19 pm

    this looks Amazing!! I love dishes with ginger…

    very unique!! 🙂

  • Pete September 26, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Great recipe! I love Czech classic stuffed fruit dumplings.

    Another recipes:

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe September 26, 2010, 2:24 pm

    I’m a sucker for anything Japanese. Really love simple home-style things like a donburi, just a bowl of rice with awesome stuff on it. Half the stuff I make at home is either Japanese or some other asian style. Having salmon and avocado donburi tonight for dinner in fact!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) September 26, 2010, 2:26 pm

    That looks delicious! I LOVE mediterranean flavors! Pretty much anything from that area!

  • eatmovelove September 26, 2010, 2:38 pm

    I love dips. Ethnic? Hmmmm – I love Hummus, so maybe Greek? 😉

    Or wait – can we just say Italian is Ethnic and call it a day? PIZZA right? 🙂

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine September 26, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Sounds so good! I love spicy food 🙂 My favorite ethnic dishes are probably baigan bharta, pizza margherita and sashimi!

  • Stephanie @ Laugh and Cook September 26, 2010, 2:53 pm

    Great post! I thought “Crab Chili” meant real crab meat in the dip! I am not a big seafood person, but I noticed there was no crab meat under the ingredient list! woohoo!!! Now, I’m going to bookmark this recipe!

  • Heather September 26, 2010, 2:55 pm

    I find it so interesting how people from different parts of the world eat so differently! GL with the contest!

  • Erin September 26, 2010, 3:01 pm

    Just a few weeks ago on ‘Top Chef: Washington DC’ they went to Singapore and kept raving about the crab chili! I thought it sounded delicious but didn’t know when I’d get around to visiting Singapore. And here you have a super easy recipe to try it! You’re so awesome Caitlin, thank you! 🙂

  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) September 26, 2010, 3:06 pm

    That looks so good!

  • Dee September 26, 2010, 3:13 pm

    This looks amazing! Good luck! 🙂

  • Evan Thomas September 26, 2010, 3:13 pm

    That looks delicious! Never even thought about Singapore cuisine before, but now I want to try it for sure.

  • Amy (Sing For Your Supper) September 26, 2010, 3:18 pm

    How interesting!! I remember this dish on Top Chef recently- it was everyone’s favorite! Great post! You’ve got my vote!

  • christina cadden September 26, 2010, 3:23 pm

    It looks so good!

  • Camille September 26, 2010, 3:24 pm

    This looks awesome! Good luck!

  • Rebecca September 26, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Hey, that looks kinda good. 🙂 Now I’m kinda in the mood for Asian food… 🙂 Good luck!

    Just have to throw this out there: my family totally has those same blueish/white patterned dishes! I love them. 🙂

  • Jenne September 26, 2010, 3:49 pm

    Anything Thai…Pad Thai, Green Curry, Pad Sew…Yum!!!!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 26, 2010, 3:54 pm

    CAITLIN!!! THis looks amazing – I loove anything that remotely resembles chili, so I am all over this!

  • Exercise and Eat September 26, 2010, 5:23 pm

    Singaporean cuisine is grand! They have bean curd dumplings there that I am OBSESSED with that I can’t find or recreate at home!

  • Emily September 26, 2010, 5:25 pm

    This dish looks awesome!! What an amazing looking re-create and I love that it’s vegetarian 🙂

  • Emilie September 26, 2010, 5:35 pm

    This past season of Top Chef held its finale episodes in Singapore and highlighted the cuisine there–it looked pretty amazing. As a vegetarian, I’ll have to try your version, to get as close to Crab Chili as I can! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life September 26, 2010, 6:01 pm

    This dish looks awesome! I especially like the potato wedges for dipping. What are black beans with sauce?

    My favorite ethnic dish is Thai Green Curry. SO GOOD!

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 9:44 pm

      just the sauce the black beans come in – don’t drain them or anything!

  • Tiffany (Stuffed With Fluff) September 26, 2010, 6:03 pm

    This looks amazing…can’t wait to try it myself!

    When does voting start?

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 9:44 pm

      tomorrow at 6 AM!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie September 26, 2010, 6:03 pm

    Oh tasty! I’ve never heard of crab chili but the veggie versions certainly looks amazing.

  • Loc September 26, 2010, 6:37 pm

    Haitian Griot with rice and beans, and plantains are AMAZING. I think I could possibly eat it everyday of my life if I had the option.

  • betsy September 26, 2010, 6:46 pm

    Interesting recipe! I had Chili Crab in Singapore but not Crab Chili.

    Thanks for sharing. I love how you intro the posts with the cutting board.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing September 26, 2010, 6:55 pm

    Wow.. very creative!

  • Tina September 26, 2010, 7:03 pm

    Definitely post the link so I can vote for you. I love that this is so creative and flavorful sounding…but also true to your style – easy and realistic for most anyone to make. Including the culinary challenged like myself. 😉

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef September 26, 2010, 7:27 pm

    how interesting! this sounds really yummy. i love thai food!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 26, 2010, 7:36 pm

    I love that you eat it by dipping potatoes in it. Awesome! 😀

    My favourite ethnic dish is sushi!

  • Heidi - apples under my bed September 26, 2010, 7:50 pm

    Oh i LOVE chilli crab. My favourite ethnic dish would be Pad Krapow Moo (Thai) or Wonton Noodle Soup (Cantonese). mmmm.
    Heidi xo

  • Wei-Wei September 26, 2010, 10:18 pm

    I bet this would be awesome spread in a sandwich or a wrap. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

  • Jamie September 26, 2010, 10:45 pm

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while now and I did not expect my country to be featured in your entries!A shoutout here from a Singaporean reader!

  • Charlie September 26, 2010, 11:02 pm

    This looks delicious! Spring rolls (I love them with peanut sauce) and Pad Thai are my favorite ethnic dishes.
    Before being vegetarian, it was definitely sushi! It is the only thing that I thought I would have a hard time giving up and I actually don’t miss it that much (and avocado rolls are still good!)

  • Rachael September 26, 2010, 11:05 pm

    Ethiopian food is my favorite, hands down. I love the spiced oil, and how conducive it is to veganism, with spiced oil!

  • kirsten September 26, 2010, 11:57 pm

    that looks so good! i love when you vegetarian-ize dishes! 😀

  • McKella September 27, 2010, 12:02 am

    I looove ethnic food. Green thai curries, tandoori, Chinese dumplings, sushi, dolmathes and gyros, and those are the ones I can remember how to spell.

  • whitney September 27, 2010, 8:26 am

    looks really goood

  • Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run September 27, 2010, 9:13 am

    Oh my gosh, the entire page is edible…

  • Joslyn @ missfitbliss September 27, 2010, 10:39 am

    Wow what a creative spin! I love that the vegetarian version looks heartier and more beautiful than the original version.

  • Lisa September 27, 2010, 1:48 pm

    I love Pad Thai or sushi. I would love to learn how to make my own sushi rolls! But maybe that’s a dangerous idea…I already want to eat it all the time.

  • Amber K September 27, 2010, 3:38 pm

    Wow, that looks really good! I’m especially excited that it is vegetarian.

  • Melissa Miller September 27, 2010, 3:45 pm

    Way to stay true to YOU and rock it out veggie style.


  • Christina September 27, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Caitlin your recipe is so original and lovely! I saw a few people who did the challenge by using a recipe and following it instead of making it their own. I love what you did with this dish!

  • Anies September 27, 2010, 11:53 pm

    Hi Caitlin. I am from Malaysia and i’ve been reading ur blog for quite some time. U motivates me alot!

    Nway, since our country is a neighbour to Singapore, ask ur BFF to try fish head curry or “murtabak singapura”. 😉


    • Caitlin September 28, 2010, 8:44 am

      Hi!! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • Jolene ( September 28, 2010, 12:33 am

    The dip sounds great! My favourite ethnic dish is Korean Bee Bim Bop 🙂

  • sam September 28, 2010, 7:43 am

    Hey caitlin! I’m a regular reader from your blog and i’m from singapore too! We all love chilli crabs over here. =D Will try out your version someday!

    • Caitlin September 28, 2010, 8:48 am


  • Krista September 28, 2010, 10:22 am

    Crab chili….what a neat idea! I think I would like your version as well as the Singapore version!! 🙂

  • Bridget September 29, 2010, 7:24 am

    I’ve been kicking around the idea of visiting Singapore–you cemented that I *need* to go, just for the food!

    At school lunch here, we get shrimp chili. It’s awesome. Pains me to remember school lunch in the US…

  • @LickMySpoon September 30, 2010, 12:51 am

    Wonderful job! For the ginger, I usually use a vegetable peeler and then mince up the shavings. Hopefully that helps 🙂 Thank you for sharing this dish. I’ve never been to Singapore but I hear there are some super foodies over there! You got my vote 🙂

  • yummiee cupcake September 30, 2010, 1:34 pm

    i love this recipe! voted!! im so glad i didnt miss the voting!

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