It took me 20 years to pin down my mother’s Singapore Chilli Crab recipe – I spent years watching her in the kitchen, but never knew the actual quantities to anything until this week, when I pinned down the recipe for my weekly Periscope! It was a great time hanging out with my mum and learning a bit more about our national dish, and even getting exact instructions on how to quickly kill a live crab (because that’s the best freshness seal!).

But don’t worry if you’re not up for dispatching Mr. Crab yourself, you can always get a fishmonger to do it for you. Oh, and if you prefer, prawns are a great substitute for crabs too!

Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe

Tammi Kwok
This is as authentic as you can get - a Singapore Chilli Crab recipe (from scratch!) passed down to me from my mother, who has been my crab dealer for all of my life. This is the flavour balance of my childhood, but feel free to play around with the quantities to find your favourite. After all, it IS comfort food!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 kg Fresh Raw Mud Crab or you can replace with prawns if you prefer, cleaned and separated into quarters
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g Asian Shallots* peeled
  • 75 g Ginger peeled and sliced
  • 2 Long Red Chillies with the top cut off
  • 50 g garlic
  • 15 g belachan fermented shrimp paste**
  • 10 g dried shrimp**
  • 2 stalks lemongrass roughly bashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 chilli sauce****
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Soft steamed buns to serve***
  • Coriander leaves or spring onions to garnish


  • In a wok, or a medium sized pot that will fit the crab in snugly, add about 750ml vegetable oil, or until it comes 2 inches up the side of the pot.
  • Add the butter, along with 2 tsp of salt, and heat till the butter is foaming.
  • Add your fresh crab (or prawns, if using) to the oil, and fry till the shells are bright red, about 8 min.
  • Meanwhile, add the shallots, ginger, chillies, garlic, and dried shrimp into a blender. Blend into a paste, using a touch of water if your blender is having issues.
  • Remove the cooked crabs from the oil and drain on a paper towel, if needed.
  • Drain off the excess fat, leaving about 3 tbsp in the pot.
  • Add the belachan and fry over high heat, till aromatic.
  • Add the spice paste and lemongrass, and fry over high heat till it deepens in colour, and the mix is fragrant, about 5-10min.
  • Add ketchup and chilli sauce, and, stirring occasionally, heat till the sauce starts to bubble vigorously.
  • Mix the corn starch with 1 tbsp water, and pour the slurry into the sauce to thicken.
  • Add in the beaten eggs and turn the heat off, stirring gently to create loose ribbons.
  • Add in the cooked crab, and mix throughly to combine. Taste the sauce, and if needed, add soy sauce to season.


*These are small red onions that you can find at the Asian grocer. If needed, you can substitute it with French eschallots.
** The belachan and the dried shrimp add that distinct flavour of the sea to the chilli sauce. It's not a compulsory ingredient, but I cannot promise that you won't get judged by a Singaporean if you don't include it.
***These buns are called Mantou, and they can also be served deep fried and golden brown, if you prefer.
****Bottled chilli sauce - similar to sweet chilli sauce, but tomato based - can be found at most asian grocers.

But wait, there’s more! Simply make this recipe, take a photo and post it to Everten’s Recipe of the Week on their Facebook page for your chance to win a $1,000 Wusthorf prize pack! You can find more details about the competition on Everten’s website. Remember to tag @TeaForTammi or Wusthof Australia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and we’ll share our favourites! We’ll also be Periscoping and sharing a recipe every week, so don’t worry if you’ve arrived here fashionably late to the party. Simply join us 6:30pm (Sydney time) every Wednesday for more delicious food, and follow @TeaForTammi to get notified when we go live!


  1. Christine @ Cooking Crusade February 3, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    This mud crab recipe looks AH-MAZING. Really wish I was there when you were making it to eaaaat it aaaaaall. I also really want to pinch one of those mantou out of the photos (and straight into a deep fryer). Because more fat 😉

    1. Tammi @ Tea For Tammi February 4, 2016 at 3:31 am

      Hahahaha. We do when I come back to Sydney! We’ll have a crab party.

  2. Trish February 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook Singapore chilli crab but maaaan… it looks so complicated but oh so good! Can I just come over with dranks and be fed? *ping Christine*

    1. tammi - Site Author March 30, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Totally! We’ll do a Singapore day together soon, yes? :D:D


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