Singapore Chili Crab is really popular outside Southeast Asian countries. However, there are other Chili Crab versions in each SE Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesian style chili crab is known as Kepiting Saus Padang (Crab in Padangese Sauce) which you can see on my archive posts.
Ample slightly different of Chili Crab recipes are found due to the use of spices such as lime, vinegar, tamarind, tauco (fermented soy bean), pineapple, oyster sauce, hot sauce, and ketchup. The main thing is the flavour; flavour has to be hot, sweet and savoury. As typical of Kepiting Saus Padang, Singapore Chili Crab is also common to be sold as a street food. The different Singaporeans serve Chili Crabs with breads (steamed/fried mantou, baguette or toasted sliced bread) for mopping up the sauce. Plain white rice may be eaten with chilli crabs too just like the Indonesians.
Often mud crabs are commonly used, other varieties of crab that have been used include blue swimmer crab (rajungan) and soft shell crab (kepiting soka). In this recipe, I used Dungeness Crab, a west coast Canada crab. Seafood Watch has given the Dungeness Crab a sustainable seafood rating of ‘Best Choice’.
In this recipe, I also used garlic and ginger paste that I made in order making an Indian food for my husband’s potluck dish at his office. I found this paste really helpful for making other Asian foods.
Here is my Singapore Chili Crab version.
Singapore Chili Crab
1 dungeness crab (about 1 kg or 2 lbs)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 cup homemade seafood broth (can be substituted for a store-bought bottle of clam juice)
1 teaspoon corn starch, mix with a small amount of water
1 tablespoons calamansi juice
5 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
5 red long cayenne pepper (cabai merah keriting)*, deseeded
3 bird eyes chilies*
1/4 teaspoon terasi or belacan (optional)
green onions, sliced
Garlic and Ginger Paste:
Amount of each varies, but stick to a 2:1 ration of peeled garlic to ginger**
Homemade Seafood Broth:
It’s made from shrimp skins, soft shell crab, garlic, ginger, onion, and water***
1. Clean and cut the crab into pieces. Save the green and juicy stuff.
2. With a mortar and pestle or food processor, pound/grind red cayenne pepper and terasi/belacan and mix with garlic ginger paste.
3. Combine mixture sauce ingredients.
4. Heat up your wok and add cooking oil. Stir fry the spice paste until you can smell their aroma.
5. Add the crab and 1/2 cup of seafood broth. Do a quick stir. Cover the wok with its cover for 3 – 5 minutes depend how big is your crab..
6. Add the green and juicy stuff from the shell and stir well. Slowly add the mixture sauce in. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes or until all crab pieces turned red.
7. Turn the heat to low, bring to a simmer. Toss in the beaten egg and stir in for around 30 seconds using your wooden spoon. Make sure you do this quickly, so that the eggs won’t get lumpy. Egg should be smooth and must not be over cook.
8. Then, add the cornstarch mixture. Season with salt if you need
9. Add the freshly squeezed calamansi or key lime juice, spring onions and some fresh cilantro. Stir.
10. Serving. Plate the crab in a big serving dish and drizzle the sauce on top. Garnish with chopped green onions and the rest of the chopped fresh coriander. Serve hot.
* Numbers of chili can be increased or reduced depend on how much heat you can handle.
** Ginger garlic paste is also sold at Asian stores. I’d rather make it by myself and keep in the freezer for longer shelf-life.
*** Seafood Broth:
There is no exact measurement as I usually make with whatever ingredients I have at home. For those who live in North America, clam juice is easy to be found any groceries.