Singapore Chilli Crab

Singapore Chilli Crab

You can’t go to Singapore and not eat Singapore Chili Crab. Despite its name it’s not an overly spicy dish. Or at least the one we had from  Jumbo Seafood Singapore was not that spicy. ⠀

According to my research,  Singapore Chilli Crab was invented by Cher Yam Tian in the mid-1950s when she added bottled chilli sauce to her dish of stir-fried crabs, instead of using tomato sauce, her usual ingredient. In 1956, she and her husband began selling the dish from a pushcart along the seaside. Business was good and they eventually opened a restaurant in 1962.

Nowadays it’s all over the place in Singapore. CNN Travel Go listed Chilli Crab as one of “World’s 50 most delicious foods“, at Number 35. ⠀

Singapore Chilli crab is actually an easy dish to recreate at home. 

Singapore Chilli Crab
Singapore Chilli Crab

The most difficult task is cleaning your fresh crabs.  You can ask the fishmonger to remove the top place and clean it out.  But make sure to ask for the creamy insides as it adds to the umami of the dish.

Crabs are stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato-and-chilli-based sauce that’s finished with egg to give this amazing creamy mouth feel. Despite its name, chilli crab is not a very spicy dish, but pairs perfectly with the #DarkHorseWine Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is bursting with notes of pink grapefruit and citrus fruits, which gives each glass a crispness that’s clean on the palate.

You mop up all that lovely Singapore Chilli Crab sauce with mantou, which are Chinese steamed bread.  I steamed some and fried some just like my final meal. 


Key Ingredients for Singapore Chilli Crab

1 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs water
4 tbs of mild flavoured oil (I uses Carotino Malaysian Palm Oil)
4 shallots minced
2- inch knob ginger grated
6 garlic cloves minced
3 mild red chillies deseeded and minced
2 whole crabs cleaned and cut into pieces
500ml stock (I used vegetable)
200ml ketchup 
100ml sweet chili sauce
2 large eggs beaten (I used Clarence Court)
small bunch spring onions  sliced
Bunch of coriander leaves coarsely chopped 

To serve
Mantou (馒头) Chinese steamed buns (Both Steamed and Fried)
White Rice


In a small bowl, stir cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; set aside.

In a large wok with lid, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. stir in shallots, ginger, garlic, and chillies. Cook until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute.

Add crab pieces and toss…. Then add the ketchup and chilli paste.  Toss again to coat. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover loosely to steam the crab.  The shell will turn red after about 5 minutes. 

Remove cover and stir in cornstarch and simmer for another minute to thicken.

Remove from heat and stir in eggs. Constantly stirring as you want the hooks to enrich the sauce and the whites to create ribbons throughout.

Ladle into serving dish… sprinkle with coriander and spring onions

Serve with manta and rice.  Enjoy 

Singapore Chilli Crab
Singapore Chilli Crab

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