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Singapore Chilli Crab

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
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!