Singapore Chili Crab

Singapore Chili Crab is one of the world’s most popular dishes. Succulent crab simmered in a thick, sweet, savory and spicy sauce. From Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes Cookbook.

What’s So Good About Singapore Chili Crab

  • Singapore Chili Crab is one of the most popular Asian crab dishes. Simmer crab in a thick, sweet, savory and spicy sauce.
  • Simple authentic recipe, with a homemade Chili-Ginger Sauce that heightens the flavor
  • Substitute jumbo-sized shrimp for the crab, if desired
  • This famous Singapore Chili Crab has been named a “national dish” of Singapore, and named #35 on the list of CNN’s list of “World’s 50 Best Foods.

Ingredients

  • Live crab
  • Oil
  • Shallots
  • Garlic, ginger, bird’s eye chilies
  • Chicken stock
  • Hot bean paste
  • Chili sauce
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Sugar
  • Rice wine
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Eggs

How To Make This Singapore Chili Crab

Place the live crabs in the freezer for 15 minutes to immobilize them. Cut in half, lengthwise with a cleaver or large chef’s knife and remove the back and discard the spongy grey matter. Take off the claws and crack in several places with a cleaver. Cut each body half into two to three pieces, leaving the legs attached.

Make the Chili-Ginger Sauce by whisking all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium-low heat and add the shallots, garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 3 minutes, then add the Chili-Ginger Sauce, chicken stock, hot bean paste, chili sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, rice wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the crab pieces and simmer, uncovered, turning several times, until the shells are bright red and the crabs are cooked, about 10 minutes.

Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs and stir until set, then transfer the chili crab to a serving dish and serve with crusty bread.

Singapore Chili Crab

Fresh crab is simmered in a base of sweet chili sauce, fresh chilies, ginger, garlic and tomato sauce — it can be made as spicy as you wish! Another signature element of this dish is the delicate ribbons of egg to thicken and add body to the sauce.

This is a messy dish, to be eaten with a stack of napkins and crusty French bread or steamed Chinese buns to mop up all of the sauce.

Why Do You Cook Crabs Live?

Crabs and other shellfish have harmful bacteria naturally present in their flesh. Once the lobster is dead, these bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by cookingYou therefore minimize the chance of food poisoning by cooking the lobster alive.

What is Hot Bean Paste?

Chili bean sauce for singapore chili crab recipeChinese Hot Bean Paste or Chili Bean Sauce is made from fresh chilies and fermented broad (fava) beans and soy beans.

This Sichuan style sauce adds a spicy, salty, umami-rich flavor to any dish. A spoonful of the sauce into any Chinese noodle dish will spice it up! We also use a spoonful in Mapo Tofu as well.

Other names:
Hot Bean Paste
Broad Bean Paste
Chili Soy Bean Paste
Toban Djan
Dou Ban Jiang
辣豆瓣酱

You can find this Hot Bean Sauce in most Asian grocery stores and online. If you find “Bean Sauce” (basically, the sauce without the chilies, you can substitute 3 tablespoons + minced red chilies in this Singapore Chili Crab recipe. The Bean Sauce without the chilies is saltier, that’s why we decrease the amount used.

Top Tips For Singapore Chili Crab

  • Crabs need to be rinsed well and cleaned.
  • Place the crabs in the freezer to immobilize them.
  • Use kitchen shears to slice through the sides of the legs.  You’ll get easy access to the leg meat with less effort and mess.
  • Serve with crusty bread.

Check Out These Other Delicious Crab Recipes

Have you tried this Singapore Chili Crab recipe? Feel free to leave a star rating and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Singapore Chili Crab
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Singapore Chili Crab is one of the world's most popular dishes. Succulent crab simmered in a thick, sweet, savory and spicy sauce. From Southeast Asia's Best Recipes Cookbook.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: chili crab, singapore chili crab, stir fry crab
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 437 kcal
Author: Jaden Hair
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds live crab
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 shallots minced
  • 6 large cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 3 red bird's eye chilies minced
  • 3 1/2 cups 875 ml chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons hot bean paste
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml bottled chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup 125ml canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper or black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • FOR THE CHILI GINGER SAUCE:
  • 6 red finger-length chilies minced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Place the live crabs in the freezer for 15 minutes to immobilize them. Cut in half, lengthwise with a cleaver or large chef's knife and remove the back and discard the spongy grey matter. Take off the claws and crack in several places with a cleaver. Cut each body half into two to three pieces, leaving the legs attached.
  2. Make the Chili-Ginger Sauce by whisking all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-low heat and add the shallots, garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 3 minutes, then add the Chili-Ginger Sauce, chicken stock, hot bean paste, chili sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, rice wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the crab pieces and simmer, uncovered, turning several times, until the shells are bright red and the crabs are cooked, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs and stir until set, then transfer the chili crab to a serving dish and serve with crusty bread.
Nutrition Facts
Singapore Chili Crab
Amount Per Serving
Calories 437 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 2901mg126%
Potassium 1102mg31%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 1352IU27%
Vitamin C 162mg196%
Calcium 111mg11%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Recommended Equipment

 

Singapore Chili Crab Recipe

 

The recipe is from Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes Cookbook by Wendy Hutton, featuring the most popular and best-known recipes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and all across the region.

Hutton has spent more than four decades traveling and and eating her way through Asia, collecting the best recipes from simple country homes to elegant restaurant kitchens. In her signature, expert prose, Hutton explores the glorious splendor of Southeast Asia’s rich and varied cuisine, from Singapore’s fascinating cosmopolitan offerings to Thailand’s sinfully spicy dishes to Vietnam’s refreshingly healthful recipes. Hutton is based in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

Each of the authentic Southeast Asian recipes in this book is accompanied by a luscious color photograph shot by the award-winning photographer, Masano Kawana, who won a James Beard Award for Best Cookbook Photography for his Shunju: New Japanese Cuisine Cookbook.