Singaporean Chilli Crab

Do you remember this  ↓  story from my post,  Dungeness Crab in Black Pepper & Lemongrass Sauce?

In early 1995, I was sent to beautiful, modern Singapore, on a business trip. My Singaporean colleagues treated me to their most famous meal for dinner, at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant.

Chilli Crab is listed at number 35 on World’s 50 most delicious foods, complied by CNN Go in 2011. Being a featured dish of Singapore, this popular seafood is a must try dish to complete the journey of local food discovery for any travelers.
~  The Best

If you wish to experience insanely tasty chilli and/or black pepper crabs, Jumbo Seafood Restaurant is the place to go. If you only have time to try just one Singaporean food, one of these dishes should be your choice.  They are dishes to dig into by hand and not be concerned about looking absolutely messy after finishing your meal. But don’t worry. There are huge sinks available in several locations, in the midst of dining room tables, where you may wash your face and hands. Also, don’t forget to ask for bibs, which are a must.

Well, by your popular demand, I went on a serious quest to look into this sauce, loved by many, many.
I discovered that Jumbo Seafood Restaurants have their own packaged chilli sauce, used in their restaurants, incorporating a long list of ingredients, of which I cannot even begin to guess. I came across  several sauce recipes, each being called, ‘authentic’. I made and tasted a small échantillon of each. Ahem. No comment.  The simplest and tastiest (to my palate) was this one, which I found on Youtube, demonstrated by Foodland Hawaii, a grocery store chain with their headquarters in Honolulu. I cannot tell how similar the taste is to the one I had in Singapore, but I have an idea that it qualifies. I have made very minor adjustments to the recipe. You may watch the video demonstration here, to have a good idea of how to prepare this dish.

Singaporean Chilli Crab | Fae's Twist & Tango

Singapore Chilli Crab

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 1 ~ 2 Hrs
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Recipe by:   Fae’s Twist & Tango   (

Singaporean Chilli Crab | Fae's Twist & Tango


Recommend one crab (450~680 gr/1~1.5 lbs) per person.
•   2 crabs = 3 lbs Dungeness or crab available at your market
(buy cooked, cleaned & cracked or see here for how to)

Sauce mixture
•   2 Tbsp hot chili paste, i.e. sriracha, chilli sauce, hot sauce – See below notes [1]&[2].
•   3 Tbsp tomato paste
•   3 Tbsp soy sauce
•   3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
•   2 Tbsp brown sugar [2]
•   3 Tbsp peanut oil
•   160 gr/5.5 oz sweet onion, finely minced
•   4 cloves garlic, extra finely minced
•   ½ thumb-sized piece of ginger (1″/2.5cm), peeled & extra finely minced
•   ¼ cup water

•   1 Tbsp cornstarch, diluted in 2 Tbsp water

Finishing touch
•   1 egg, beaten
•   2 stems sliced green onions or a few sprigs of cilantro for garnish (optional)


◊  Reserve the main shell of the crab (for display). Place it on the serving platter, to later cover it with crab legs and the sauce.

◊  In a bowl, mix the chili paste, tomato sauce, soy-sauce, rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Thin it with ¼ cup water and set aside. See below note [2].

◊  Pour the oil into a wok or large pot. Heat over high heat. When oil ripples, add onion and stir until edges start browing. Add garlic, ginger and sautée for 1 more minute.

◊  Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil. Add crabs, stirring often, so crabs will absorb the sauce.

◊  Pour the cornstarch slurry into the sauce (not over the crab) and stir until sauce thickens.

◊  Add beaten egg to the sauce (not over the crab) and continue to stir. Now, stir the crab with the sauce.

◊  On the serving platter, place the legs over the main shell and pour sauce over the crabs. Garnish with green onions or sprigs of cilantro if preferred.

◊  Served warm… dig in with hands! Lots of napkins needed. Wearing a bib may not be a bad idea! Goes well with hot steaming rice.

~  慢慢吃!•  mànmàn chī!  ~

[1]  ° Siracha is a spicy sauce made with red chili and garlic, especially served with Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.
° Chili sauce is a hot sauce made with tomatoes, chilies, and spices.
° Hot sauce, chili sauce or pepper sauce, refers to any spicy sauce condiment made from chili peppers and other ingredients.

[2] First, add only 1 Tbsp of hot chili paste (or sriracha, chilli sauce, hot sauce) and mix. Add remaining paste, a little at a time to the sauce mixture, to adjust the spiciness to your tolerance. The same applies to brown sugar, adjust sweetness to your liking.

So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?


  1. says

    Hi, Fae. Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my post, Baked Chicken Cutlets. The crab recipe sounds delicious. It makes me hungry. This would be good with rice. I’m imagining myself licking my fingers while eating it. Oh, my goodness! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  2. says

    Wow, I’m so impressed you made your own Singapore chili crab! I enjoyed this dish in Singapore, too. I’ve never prepared whole crabs at home, mostly because I assume they’d be expensive and then I’d worry about messing them up. Yours looks delicious!

  3. says

    I keep hearing about how amazing Singapore chilli crab is, particularly as we live so close to Singapore here in Australia. Can you believe I’ve never eaten it? I think I need to try your recipe. Looks absolutely delicious! x

  4. says

    Fae, that recipe sounds like it could very well be Jumbo’s. Yes, I’ve had chili crab at the restaurant. Funny I have Singapore Chili Crab in my draft but never published ’cause I was unsure about my recipe. Now I won’t even bother; what you have here is perfection. Will be making this, I know.

  5. says

    Wow you are on a kick Fae! This recipe looks so good. Brown sugar and peanut oil with hit sauce. Yum. I had a lobster while this weekend and I was wondering what other ways there were to do it up. This looks so tasty!

  6. says

    I do remember your story (love all your stories) and applaud your culinary research and testing. This dish looks so good! No way I can make it but I so want to go try this for myself in Singapore!


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