Easy Chilli Crabs

If you wish to experience insanely tasty chilli crabs, you have come to the right place. This crab dish that I made a few weeks ago was inspired by the iconic Singapore Chilli Crab dish. The flavours of this dish truly come together like magic.  It is surprisingly easy to make at home and you really should.  It only took less than 30 minutes for me to make this dish. This chilli crab will become one of your family’s favourites.

Despite the name, the traditional dish is slightly on the sweeter side and there is not a lot of spicy heat to it. As I am not fond of sweetness in gravy, I toned down the sugar and added more fresh chillis and garlic. When you taste a bit of this tomato-based dish, it is the sweetness that you get and then the heat hits you subtly.

Sometimes the messiest recipes are the most satisfying to eat. It is a dish to dig into by hand and not be concerned about looking absolutely messy after finishing your meal, it is so worth it! Once you’re done getting all the crab meat you can, you’ll find yourself wanting to sop up the sauce with some bread.

Mud crabs are usually used in the Singapore chilli crab recipe, but I used the blue swimmers in this dish and it did the job for me.

Arm yourself and your guests with the necessary tools – crab crackers, crab pick, finger bowl, bib and napkin – and dig in.


  • 2 whole crabs (I used blue swimmers)
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli thinly sliced for serving
  • Steamed rice or flatbread to serve

Base Paste;

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 red chillies
  • 1 medium onion


  1. To make the base paste, place all the ingredients for the base paste in a mortar and crush with a pestle or alternatively add all the ingredients into a grinder and process until smooth paste forms.
  2. Prepare the crabs before adding them into the sauce by removing the claws, the main shell, then cutting the body into half. Crack the claws and the legs so the sauce can get through to the meat. Go to this link and watch the first few minutes to see how to clean a crab. Once the crabs are prepped, set them aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. When hot, fry the paste for 5- 6 minutes or until fragrant comes out.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stock, sugar and soy sauce and stir for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add the crabs including the shells and toss until the crabs are coated well with the sauce.
  6. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as necessary and cover the wok and simmer for about 10 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.
  7. Remove the crab pieces from the wok and place on a large serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the crab, then scatter over the coriander and chilli.
  8. Serve immediately, with flatbread or rice with plenty of napkins.

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