Singapore-Style Chilli Crab

5 stars

The best chilli crabs with thick savoury sauce just like those served at hawker stalls in Singapore is rather easy to prepare at home. This flavourful dish is popular to the locals in Malaysia too.

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 30 mins



Malaysian, Singaporean

Nutrition per Serving

437 kcal
30 g
12 g
51 g

My first time making chilli crab and it was really tasty. This recipe is very clear and easy to follow. The fried man tou in gravy was utterly delicious 😋
I wasn't sure if I should share this snap as I did not use whole crabs for this dish. The reason for that was because I wanted to create a fusion pasta dish where I combined freshly-made linguine with the Chilli Crab sauce. Tasted  good though :D
I made this dish with some modification to the recipe. I added more shallots and I blended the shallots, onions and garlic separately.  Similarly I fried up the shallots first, followed by garlic and then added in the chilies.   I think it it brings out more fragrance  from the spices.
I cooked this at 12am midnight with a vietnamese friend in hostel for supper... finger-licking good haha
Thank you for your video. I learned a lot. It came out so delicious. Spicy and Sweet. 
Thanks Again
Used frozen crab instead and it turned out great!
I made them as rustic as street food in indo
Just love how simple it is! ❤️

Look no further for an easy crab recipe. Authentic chilli crabs like those in Singapore can be recreated in your kitchen, anywhere in the world. This amazing dish is made using a paste which has all the five basic flavours namely sweetness, spiciness, sourness, saltiness and umami. Understandably, there is a reason why it is listed #29 under CNN World’s 50 Most Delicious Food in 2017.

Despite its name, this dish is actually not spicy. It is cooked in a gravy which is thick, sweet and savoury with only a slight tinge of spiciness. It is normally accompanied by deep fried or steamed Chinese buns also known as 'mantao'.

Type of crabs

Normally, mud crabs are used to prepare this dish. In Germany, I was only able to get live brown crab instead but the result was still amazing. You may even use soft shell crabs if that is your preference. Use your creativity. I could also imagine some juicy and succulent prawns embedded in the sauce!

How to humanely kill the crab?

Cleaning the crab was bothersome but it is necessary to ensure that all impurities are removed. However, the first hurdle was to kill the crab. To do so, place the live crab in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will make them ‘sleep’. You can then quickly chop them up and cook immediately.

What is in the chilli crab sauce?

The chilli crab sauce has a combination of chillies, ginger, garlic, ketchup and most importantly, fermented soy beans. The gravy is then thickened and egg is added to it.

Other meat besides crab

This sauce goes extremely well with seafood, shell fishes specifically. Lobster will be a good option. Both crab and lobster can be rather messy and tedious when it comes to cooking, especially if you are not familiar with it. We also recommend tiger prawns, crayfishes and if you like, clams! Just remember to always serve it with some steamed Chinese buns.


1 kg
chilli peppers (fresh)
1 cm
garlic clove(s)
2 tbsp
1 tbsp
fermented soybean paste (taucu)
300 g
2 tbsp
4 tbsp
1 tsp
1 tbsp
corn flour
2 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

Singapore-Style Chilli Crab Step 1

Step 1 of 6

    • 1 kg crab

Clean the crab. Scrub shell with a brush to ensure no impurities. Cut crab into quarters. Crack the shell slightly and leave aside.

Singapore-Style Chilli Crab Step 2

Step 2 of 6

    • 6 chilli peppers (fresh)
    • 1 cm ginger
    • 2 shallot(s)
    • 8 garlic clove(s)
    • 2 tbsp oil

Blend chillies, ginger and garlic and shallots. Heat oil in a pan over low heat. Then, sauté blended ingredients until fragrant.

Singapore-Style Chilli Crab Step 3

Step 3 of 6

Add in the pieces of crab except for the upper section of the shell known as the carapace.

Singapore-Style Chilli Crab Step 4

Step 4 of 6

    • 1 tbsp fermented soybean paste (taucu)
    • 300 g water
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 4 tbsp ketchup
    • 1 tsp salt

Add fermented bean paste and continue sautéing for 3 minutes. Add water to the pan and increase the heat to allow it to boil. Then, add sugar, ketchup and salt. Once it boils, place the carapace on top and cover with the lid. Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes

Singapore-Style Chilli Crab Step 5

Step 5 of 6

    • 1 tbsp corn flour
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 2 egg(s)

Mix cornstarch and water. Then, add to pan to thicken the gravy. Once gravy thickens, add beaten eggs to gravy and cook for 3 minutes.

Singapore-Style Chilli Crab Step 6

Step 6 of 6

Dish it out and garnish with scallions and chilies. Serve with some fried steamed Chinese buns.

Published: September 26, 2016

2 Discussions

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14 days ago

Zayana Zulkiflee

Hiya, can this be cooked in an instant pot or pressure cooker?

14 days ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Sure, but you wouldn't need any of the functions since crabs do not take a long time to cook.

10 days ago

Jen Vergara

Hi! I can't get a hold of Taucu here. Can I use Doenjang since it is also soybean paste? Thanks!

10 days ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Yes, or miso.