Singaporean Chilli Crab

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So sorry about the late posting for June. It has been a crazy month for me and IK as a newlywed! Thank you for all the blessings we had a super happy wedding day indeed! So this post, it’s all about crabs! I was never a ‘crab’ fan, well, at least it is not my number one favourite shellfish. I tend to prefer prawns and lobsters over crabs. Don’t ask me why, it’s just simply weird in me. Way back last year, hubby and I decided to visit Malaysia and Singapore for our Christmas trip. One of the dishes that hubby expected to try was the Singaporean Chilli Crab. It is indeed a very popular dish in Singapore but I was not very excited about it, no where near hubby’s expectations. Hubby was so keen with tasting this famous crab that he even went online surfing websites and restaurant reviews about the 5 best places for this crab. I first thought it was a little over extreme but anyway, I kept it silent. One thing I love about my hubby is that he has this “invisible power” to change me in many ways, particularly, the perspective towards FOOD. If I ever mentioned to you before about my sausage rolls experience, crab is another thing that he can completely spin me around from ‘dislike to love’!

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Until when hubby and I arrived Singapore, we threw our luggage into our service apartment, and jumped straight onto the train for that what he (so called) famous Singaporean crab~ The crab was a hassle for me (well, at my first glance), but after that first bite~ YESHH.. I cannot stop eating! We had a king crab, GIGANTIC! I was a little in-doubt whether we can actually finish it ~ just the 2 of us?!?! Seriously??

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The sauce was awesome, in fact that was the only thing that brought me to try this big crab! I must admit that Asian food is GREAT, and I’m so honoured to be an Asian HAHA! This Singaporean dish is absolutely delicious, the crab meat is juicy and fresh (don’t forget to get a good crab cracker~ well, I had hubby to do it for me .. cheers~), the spicy sauce was not that spicy afterall. For some reason, they cracked an egg into the sauce which makes it taste even richer!

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So the other day, hubby was tempted to have another crab dish~ and I thought why not try our own DIY Singaporean chilli crab.. and we did.. we went & bought 2 mud crabs from the fish market~ I’ve looked for a few websites for the best recipe..(try to be authentic here..) but ended up having to mix and match a bit of everything to get to the flavour that I feel right! We even served it with deep-fried buns (well, that’s what we’ve learnt from the Singaporeans, dipping the buns into the chilli sauce!) Yum! Oh, and no KING crabs.. we had mud crabs instead.. which is still FINE!

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You’ll need (Serves 4-5):

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 7 tablespoons oil
  • 2 to 3 shallots, cut into 5cm long
  • 2 inch of ginger, grated
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 red small chili, minced
  • 2 whole Mud crabs, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups chicken stock (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup hot-sweet chili sauce
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely sliced 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, for garnish
  • 8 Chinese buns (optional)
  • Rice to serve (optional)

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How to?

  1. In small bowl, stir corn starch with 2 tablespoons water; set aside.
  2. Wash crab pieces carefully with a brush to remove sand and dirt. Rinse twice and pat dry with absorbent papers. Set aside.
  3. In large wok, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Stir in shallots, ginger, garlic, onions, and chilies. Cook until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute.
  4. Add crab pieces and chicken broth, stir in tomato paste and chilli sauce. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Cover loosely and gently boil until crab has turned red and is nearly cooked through, about 6 minutes.
  5. Remove cover and season to taste with salt, sugar, or pepper. Stir in corn starch mixture to thicken the sauce.
  6. Break eggs into the wok and streak with a fork, simmer till cooked. Squeeze lime juice over.
  7. Ladle into serving dish, sprinkle with Chinese parsley, and serve with rice or buns.

To make deep fried buns:

  1. In a deep pan, add enough oil for deep frying. Until the temperature of the oil reaches 180C, slowly slide the steam buns into the pan.
  2. Cook until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes. Turn the buns to evenly golden the surfaces.
  3. Remove the oil and sit on paper towel to absorb excess oil.


  • Ensure crabs need to be rinsed well, cleaned, and cut into pieces and possibly, get fresh crabs, rather than frozen. The texture is far different with fresh and frozen.
  • If you are not confident with cutting up a crab, I suggest you to get the fish shop to do it for you. It’s not easy at all.
  • I quite like to use the hot-sweet chilli sauce just because I like a taste of sweetness, if you prefer chilli hot, omit this and replace with tomato paste and extra chilli.
  • If you prefer to use soft-shell crabs instead of fresh mud crabs, cut soft shell crab into 4 pieces and cover with plain flour. Deep fry in hot oil and add to the sauce in step 5 after the sauce thicken, omit the mud crab.
  • If you like, king crabs are even better with lot more fresh meat, but more expensive.


Recipe adapted from Singapore Local favourites  & Serious Eats



  1. Wow.. awesome..!
    Thank you for the recipe
    i need to try it at home 🙂

  2. I have to agree…I wonder if it would also work with prawns?

    • Thankyou.. I have never tried with prawns, I guess it won’t be weird to have prawns as iT is one kind of shellfish. But be careful as overcooked prawns will taste rough.

      Good luck!

  3. chocolatesuze

    that looks bloody incredible!!!

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