Singapore chili crab recipe


Another Singapore original—a spicy and sweet tomato sauce, enhancing the delicious taste of fresh crabs. Sold in hawker centers and seafood restaurants in the country, and not to be missed when visiting the island state.


  • 3 fresh crabs (5 lbs/2½ kg total)
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 1 cup (250 ml) Chicken Stock
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 green onion (scallion), thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 in (5 cm) young ginger, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fermented soybean paste (tau cheo)
  • 3–5 red finger-length chilies, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tablespoons sweet bottled chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons bottled tomato ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
How to Make It
  1. Clean and quarter the crabs, cracking the pincers to allow the flavors to penetrate. Pat dry, then deep-fry the crabs in 2 batches in hot oil in a wok for 3 minutes until the shells turn bright red. Remove from the heat and set aside to drain.
  2. To make the Sauce, drain the oil in the wok and pour 4 tablespoons of fresh oil into it. Stir-fry the garlic, onion, ginger, black bean paste and chilies over high heat until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce, tomato ketchup, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar, and mix well. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add the ground red pepper, if using, and season with the pepper.
  3. Return the crabs to the wok and toss to coat with the Sauce. Add the chicken stock and cook over high heat for 3 minutes. Add the egg and cornstarch, and stir until the Sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Season with the salt and pepper. Garnish with the green onion and serve.

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