Singapore Chili Crab



During our recent gardening spree, we went to the local Stew Leonards store. This is our first time here and we were amazed at the sheer size of the store. The fish section of this store is pretty big and has fishes not usually available in the local grocery stores. We bought some soft shell crabs which were kinda pricey. The last time we bought crabs were from an Asian store, and I think they were cheaper. Soft shell crab season begins in May, so hopefully the prices will come down in the next months.

Dealing with live crabs is not for the fickle minded. And so we got the crabs cleaned and ready to cook from the store. The whole cooking process took less than 15 min, and the dish is wonderfully spicy and perfect with rice. And for complete satisfaction, dig in with your hands. This is perfect for informal gatherings with friends, as eating crab is a very messy affair. We just piled the crab onto a plate, added some rice to the side and ate away.

Recipe Measuerements are approximate

Soft shell crab 4 halved

Green chillies 4 or 5 and slit lenghtwise

Garlic and ginger chopped finely 1 tsp each

Oil 1 -2 tbsp

Tomato ketchup 3 tbsp

Red chili sauce ( store bought) a generous dash

Sugar 2 tsp

Salt to taste

Water 1/4 cup

Sliced scallions 1 or a few thin slices of red onion.


Heat a large pan or a wok, add the oil. Add the crab pieces and fry till the flesh is white and the shells turn red ( about 6 min)

Push the crab to the side of the pan, and add chilies, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 2 min, and mix with crab.


Add ketchup, sugar, salt , chili sauce and cold water. Bring to boil and stir to combine all the ingredients together. Simmer for few minutes. Add the green onions just before serving. I didnot have green onions, and so I added some thinly sliced red onions a few minutes before taking off the stove.

Enjoy! The crabs are slightly sweet and very moist. The sauce is spicy.

Recipe source : Asia The Beautiful Cookbook. Page 162.

Dish prepared by Satish

Instructions on cleaning crabs at home click here


You can grind the chilies, ginger and garlic in a mortar or blender.

The original recipe includes adding beaten eggs at the end. If you do that, add the beaten eggs and cook briefly, breaking it with a spatula. Then add the onions and serve.

The introduction to the recipe includes this about eating crab:There is no ceremony here, and only the most pedantically fastidious would bother with tableware. I say very well said.

18 responses »

  1. Crab is my all time favourite seafood. I haven’t still tried it after coming to US. I am missing those ‘crab thalis’ we ate in B’lore :(.
    Your recipe looks Yumm…

  2. whoa! I was thinking about buying crabs tomorrow. I love to eat crab but I am a little scared to clean them. But was thinking,to try and make them ,since I have some guest on Memorial and they told me,they want crabs! 🙂 . I want to make it like K.M Mathew chechi has written 🙂 Will post it if everything comes out alright.

  3. Shilpa, my story is different. I started eating crab after coming to US. So you are going to try some crab soon? This is the season for crabs.

    Faffer, Thanks!

    LG..I am sure you have some nice yummy recipes for crabs. Would love to see what you prepare? Vanilla crab? K.M’s recipes never fail. So rest assured!

    Nabeela, me too.. I love to anything with my hands! I feel I miss out on the real taste with tableware, especially when eating crab.

  4. Thanks for your recipe which I slightly varied. I added lemon grass, ginger and garlic. Deleted the sugar, water and ketchup and added white wine as the sugar and liquid substitute. Hope others enjoy this as much as we did.

  5. Sarah,My sister lives in Singapore and they rave about the crab dishes there…

    Frank, nice twists to the recipe. Glad it worked out for you. Lemongrass sounds delicious!

  6. Looks delicious! Hopefully, we'll try out your receipe this weekend. I ate crab during my last visit to India, in Goa. Can't wait to try it again. Also your lamb chops look mouth watering

  7. Been looking for the real recipe for garlic chili crab in preparation to my Singapore trip. I’ll let my family taste this one. Thanks

    Thanks for visiting Ana. Would love to hear how it turned out for you. Singapore is a place I intend to visit in the near future.  


  8. Hi Gini,

    You look exactly like my batchie Suma Antony. I was checking your pic again and again to make sure tat you are not Suma. (Are you?) I like your blog style. I visited yours thru Shaheen’s. Me too a fan of Crabs, but have never tested my hands on them. I stick only to my Ammi to prepare them and used to eat them as main course and rice as side dish. Hmm…Iam invited by your recipes now. Let’s see when can I taste in really. Keep going. Bye.

  9. Pingback: Crab/Njandu Masala « Spices of Kerala

  10. Just back from Singapore. First thing I wanted to do was try out Chilli crab recipe. Yours looks fabulous and tempting. I’m going off to the market to buy the crabs.

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