Recipe: Chilli Mud Crab

Recipe: Chilli Mud Crab

Surely the most famous of all Singaporean dishes – Chili Mud Crab. The dish consists of a mud crab in its shell, stir-fried and heavily coated in a rich, sweet red sauce made with ketchup, soy sauce and ginger, among other ingredients.

Singaporean Cher Yam Tian created the original version of chilli crab for her husband in 1950 and began selling it shortly afterwards from her street cart. It wasn’t long before the acclaim her invention garnered was so great that in 1956, she and her husband opened a restaurant, Palm Beach Seafood, which to this day is still serving this famous dish to hundreds of hungry diners from all over the world.


  • ½ tsp. corn flour
  • 10 long red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 80 ml of vegetable oil (1/3 cup)
  • 2 live mud crabs (about 1kg each), killed humanely, scrubbed and quartered
  • 35g. ginger, finely chopped (7cm piece)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 200 ml tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

To serve: coriander, thinly sliced spring onions, and crusty bread, steamed buns or steamed rice


  1. Whisk cornflour and 200ml water in a small bowl to combine and set aside.
  2. Process chilli and onion in a food processor until paste forms and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add crab and stir-fry until starting to colour (3-4 minutes). Remove crab with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add chilli paste and stir until tender (7-10 minutes). Add ginger and garlic, stir until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add tomato paste and stir until mixture darkens in colour (1-2 minutes). Add tomato purée and ketchup, bring to the simmer, add a cornflour mixture, stir to combine, then add crab and cook, stirring occasionally, until orange and cooked through (10-12 minutes). Drizzle with egg, stir to coat, season to taste with soy sauce, sugar and salt and serve hot topped with coriander and spring onion, with bread or steamed rice.

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Article Written By olhab

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