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Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe – Easy, Quick, and Delicious!

Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe – Easy, Quick, and Delicious!

Last Updated on 25th August 2021 by

If you’ve ever been to Singapore, you probably know how popular the Singapore chilli crab recipe is with locals and visitors alike. You can find the yummy meal served everywhere from restaurants to street vendors all across the city.

The good news is that you don’t have to go all the way to Asia to have this Singapore style chilli crab recipe served. You can prepare it yourself. Being a big fan of Asian cuisine, I’m always keen on finding the perfect recipes, and I think I’ve found the perfect one!

In this article, I’ll share with you what I believe is the best recipe out there for the seafood dish, so you can prepare and enjoy it anytime.

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Singapore Chilli Crab

Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Singapore
Keyword: chilli crab, crab, singapore
Servings: 4
Cost: 20


  • 1 1/4 lbs mud or Dungeness crab
  • 3.5 oz cornstarch
  • 3 shallots medium
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 3 red chillis
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • coriander or parsley to garnish


Clean and prepare the crab

  • Before starting, you need to make sure to clean and rinse your crabs well. If you can, get your fish supplier to do the heavy cleaning for you, so you don’t get your hands dirty.
  • As for the preparation, start by removing the crab’s gills and bottom flap, then detach the head. Next, you’ll need to remove the guts. You can leave some of the crab meat lining inside to give the plate a little extra flavour.
  • Using a crab knife, cut the crab into four or six pieces. You can detach the claws or keep them, but use the knife to crack them open in all cases. This allows the sauce to reach all parts of the crab when cooking it.
  • Lastly, place the crab pieces, claws, and head together in a bowl and set aside.

Cook the sauce

  • For the sauce, chop the shallots, ginger, garlic, and red chili peppers and place them in the food processor. Afterward, add the ketchup and optional shrimp paste, and grind until the ingredients form a paste.
  • To cook the sauce, put some oil in your wok and heat over medium fire. Once the oil is hot, add the sauce paste previously prepared and cook for about five minutes, stirring the concoction occasionally.

Cook the crab

  • There are two ways to cook the crabs, either by boiling in the sauce or frying them, depending on your preference. Here’s an overview of both options.
  • Boiling: Place the crabs in the cooking sauce, stirring the mixture to make sure the sauce covers all the crab pieces. Then, leave to cook till the crabs turn reddish, which should take about another five minutes.
    Next, take out all the crab pieces, including the body, claws, and head, and place them in your serving platter.
  • Frying: This is an optional step in case you prefer your crabs fried. Coat your crab pieces with cornstarch. Then, in a frying pan, heat enough oil to deep fry the crabs.
    Place the crab pieces in the oil until fried, which should take from five to eight minutes. Once cooked, remove the pieces and place them on paper towels to eliminate any excess oil.
    After the crabs are completely dry, place them on your serving platter.

Make the paste

  • For the final cooking step, pour the tomato paste, soy sauce or soybean paste, sweet chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, and sugar into the wok. Stir to mix well.
  • Afterward, add the butter, egg, and spring onions, wait for one minute, and then stir in with the sauce. Let them simmer for a couple of minutes till the sauce is thick and creamy.

Finish the dish

  • Carefully pour the sauce over the crab in the serving platter, making sure to cover all the crab pieces.
  • Add some Chinese parsley or coriander for garnish, and voila! It’s time to enjoy your Singapore crab chili recipe!


Some Cooking Tips for the Best Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe

Simply putting together the ingredients may yield a fantastic dish. But, do you want to give your chilli crab Singapore recipe a personal touch to make it perfect?

Before you dive into preparing this delicious Asian dish, I’ll let you in on some of my secrets to make this recipe simply divine.

Picking your Crabs

This recipe should ideally be prepared using Mud crabs. However, if you can’t find any, then you can use brown crabs or even soft-shell crabs and still get an amazing dish.

Some Like It Hot and Some Don’t

This is a medium spicy recipe, so if you prefer it spicier, use six red chillies instead of three. You can reduce the number of red chillies to one or two for a milder variation. Alternatively, you can remove the red chillis altogether if you don’t want the dish to be spicy at all.

Palm Sugar Alternatives

I prefer using palm sugar in this recipe, as it’s less processed than other sugar types. If palm sugar isn’t easily available for you, you can substitute it with brown sugar and molasses.

In terms of sweetness, adding one tbsp of molasses to one cup of sugar is roughly equivalent to one cup of palm sugar.

Taucu Alternatives

Taucu is used in many traditional Singapore recipes. It’s simply fermented soybeans, used to make the chilli crab recipe Singapore bean paste. If you can’t find any in your local shops, you can substitute it with miso or doenjang and still get delectable results.

The Mantou Buns

The tantalising sweet, savoury, and spicy plate is typically served with Mantou buns.

Mantou buns are Chinese-style dough pieces that can be served either steamed or fried. You may be able to get your hands on some of the dough in traditional Chinese markets, or if you’re up for it, you can make them yourself.

Final Thoughts

This Singapore chilli crab recipe is relatively simple to prepare, delicious, and filling! An appetising combination of flavours; it’ll have your taste buds dancing.

It’s also an ideal recipe to impress guests at a dinner party; I believe we all appreciate cultural food!

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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