An Improvised Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe


Mum brought home 2 female crabs and 1 male crab from Sheng Shiong today, with the intention to steam them. However I decided to whip up a dish of Singaporean Chilli Crabs. Compelled by the idea of a sweet sour and spicy seafood aroma, the whole family somehow gave in – even when at that point of time I knew that we didn’t have enough or the correct ingredients to cook. So I decided to improvise.

A key ingredient for cooking the Singaporean Chilli Crabs is tomato sauce or tomato puree. Something which I didn’t even have a single drop of. Out came the gears in the mind for sauces and spices with similar taste, all in all to recreate what would be Singapore’s signature dish.

Click the link below to check out the recipe!


I also decided to steam the crabs first instead of the traditional method of coating the crabs in flour and deep frying them. Somehow I felt that the crabs would be better cooked more thoroughly through steaming. Didn’t want to spend any chances and I could use the crab juices in the sauce.

An Improvised Singapore Chilli Crab

  • 2-3 medium sized crabs, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 cup Chilli Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Hua Tiao Jiu
  • 1 tablespoon Kecap manis (Dark Sweet Sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal Belachan
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Corn starch
  • 2 Medium sized onions, sliced
  • 10 grams ginger, sliced
  • 4 Bird’s eye chilli / Chilli Padi
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 pieces dried chilli
  • 1 cup water
  1. Steam the crabs for 20 minutes. Remove from steamer and retain the crab juices in a bowl.
  2. Blend onions, ginger, chilli padi and garlic together to form a spice blend.
  3. Mix in a bowl the light soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, hua tiao jiu, kecap manis and sambal belachan to form a sauce mix.
  4. Heat oil in a large pan. Fry the spice blend and dried chillies until fragrant.
  5. Add in the sauce mix, chilli sauce and butter to the pan and fry thoroughly. Add in the 1 cup water and crab juices. Stir.
  6. Places crab pieces into the pan. Stir a few times to soak the crab in the sauce. Cover with lid and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Mix cornstarch with a little water. After 15 minutes, remove crab pieces from the pan, leaving the sauce behind. Add in the cornstarch water to thicken the mix slightly.
  8. Break eggs into the pan. Use a spoon and stir the eggs into the sauce. Leave to simmer for 1-2 minutes to reduce volume of sauce a little.
  9. Put crab pieces back into pan and stir. Leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Once done, serve hot with steamed white rice!

The dish turned out a slightly milder version of the Original Singapore Chilli Crabs so I can say that this is proudly my own version of the recipe. It was a good experiment though I still reckon that the flavour could be given a good kick with a dallop of tomato sauce into the entire dish. Other than that, Bon Appétit!


  • Aug

    Hi Justin,

    Why steam the crab instead of deep frying the crab for like 6 mins for it to turn red n dish out? I thought the latter one should be correct? Pls kindly advise.


    • Hi Aug,

      I believe you can fry the crab as well. I think its varies from individuals whether to fry or steam the crabs to “cook” it prior to coating it with the sauces. In my opinion, I feel the crab is better cooked this way. And you use the natural juices to make the gravy as well.


  • sallie07

    haven’t tried frying the crab..but I tried steaming it and think the true taste of a crab really comes out when steaming it..?? 🙂 anyways.. nice recipe you’ve got there! thanks for the share!!  I love it especially crab is one of my favorite food.. :).. I remember when we visited Singapore, we are looking for the right taste for this crab..I’m glad restaurant-match helped us out! now I thank you..Now we can eat this anytime we want! 🙂 thanks!!