Singapore Chili Crab Recipe

Try the signature dish of Singapore without spending money on a flight.

by Salil Mehta
03 January 2020, 3:00am

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Servings: 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


1 (2 1/2 pound) mud crab
8 chiles de arbol, stemmed
2 tablespoons soy bean paste (Taucu)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Holland chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
3 small shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (5-inch) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ cup|60 ml canola oil
1 tablespoon belachan
8 ounces|240 grams tomato purée
½ cup|160 grams sweet chili sauce
1 large egg
3 tablespoons white vinegar
granulated sugar, to taste
fresh cilantro, to serve
thinly sliced scallions, to serve
steamed or fried buns (Homei brand), to serve


1. Prepare the crab: Remove the carapice from the crab. Wash, scrub, and remove the lungs. Break the crab down into parts. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the dry chiles and remove from the heat. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft. Place in the bowl of a food processor along with the taucu, garlic, Holland chiles, shallots, and ginger. Purée into a paste and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high. Add the belachan and cook, breaking it up into a paste, until fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it darkens in color, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they release their oils, 4 minutes. Add the crab, chili sauce, and 2 ½ cups water and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover. Cook until the crab is bright red and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.

4. Drop the egg in the sauce and slowly whisk in to create a silky sauce. Season with the vinegar and sugar. Transfer to a plate and garnish with the cilantro and scallions. Serve with the steamed buns.

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