top of page

Singaporean Chili Crab

['3 cups Super-Concentrated Cantonese Chicken Stock, hot', '"1 cup Hunts brand ketchup", 4 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee brand chili garlic sauce', '4 tablespoons rice vinegar', '4 tablespoons sugar', '1 fresh Dungeness crab, or equally large and meaty crab', '1 cup cornstarch', '2 tablespoons minced garlic', '2 tablespoons minced shallots', '1 tablespoon minced ginger', '5 Thai chile peppers, chopped', '1 stalk scallion, cut diagonally', '4 cups Chili Crab Sauce', '2 large eggs', 'Scallions, for garnish, cut diagonally', 'Cilantro sprigs, for garnish', '5 Buttermilk Beer Beignets']

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl (or 22-quart plastic Cambro containers, like we do) until it becomes one unified homogenous mixture of red chili sauce. It should taste spicy, sweet, and savory and not too ketchup-y.
Clean crab and cut into pieces. If you have never done this before, this might sound easier said than done, but it's not nearly as daunting as it seems.
In a debate of “humane” ways of killing crab: the Asian preparation of crab is a near-instant killing of the crab versus the longer and drawn out steaming/boiling method. Additionally, the boiling method tends to result in a much fishier “crabby” flavor, not as fresh tasting as with this method. If you look up videos on YouTube, look up “How to kill a live crab humanely,” which will demonstrate this way of breaking down a crab.
With that said, I wasn’t as prepared in the photograph process, so I’m going to personally walk you through this as the first “Crab Killer” at Starry Kitchen:
Quick tips: Put crabs in the freezer or refrigerator before breaking down. It will make them sleepy—slow them down very severely. There is also a way one of our cooks, Sean, uncovered on the web to gently pet a soft spot on their shell over and over and they’ll start falling asleep. We’ve seen it. It’s crazy, but it takes a lot longer than the freezer method.
Next, when you’re ready, you’re going to need a decently sharp knife for this process or at least one with a sharp tip for this next step: try to grab the crab from the tail end, and flip the crab over, claws and eyes pointing away from you, and so it’s belly-side up. If you look at its abdomen right in the center, you’ll see a longer triangular lip (top of it pointing away from you) that can actually be lifted up. Until you’re comfortable doing it often, you can use the tip of your knife to lift it up, but you’ll want to use your hand to quickly just lift up and fold it over completely. The crab will potentially get VERY mad at this point. You’ve just exposed its most vulnerable spot.
Then, this part is simple if you can move quickly: just stab it downward right through that spot that’s been exposed until you reach the shell. Hold for about 10–20 seconds. The crab should die almost instantly.
Afterwards, line your knife across the middle, and firmly press down and cleave it through the abdomen to cut the crab in half. The crab will snap in half once you come all the way down. You’ll also be able to pull the crab by each of its claws, and it’ll just come apart.
You’ll then want to turn each half over, and remove the white gills off of each and dispose.
Dispose of the lip, and any other loose appendages from the front and back end of the crab.
Dispose of the white film and any black matter inside the shell itself, but do not clean out the rest of the shell. That orange part, the coral, the fatty tissue is the MOST coveted part of the crab in Asian households (typically held for the father, no joke). It’s like sea urchin/uni, really rich and very briny...and super-awesome to put rice into once it’s cooked and scoop it out with. Yummers!
Depending on how large your crab is, the two halves of crab legs can be broken into either 2 or 3 sections (there should be a minimum of 2 legs per section) using the same cleaving action as you did to halve the crab.
And that’s it! (If YouTube, this, and the web doesn’t help you feel more comfortable—seriously, feel free to reach out to us: @starrykitchen. This dish is COMPLETELY worth it.)
Now clean the crab legs again, then pat dry with paper towels. Put into a big bowl with cornstarch, but make sure to leave enough room to coat crab with starch.
Diligently dredge all exposed crab pieces including the coral and head, inside and out, with starch. Next, shake off excess starch, but make sure all of the exposed (non-shelled) parts are covered in starch. This seals in all of the crab’s flavors throughout the cooking process. This is especially important if you need to prepare in advance.
Fill a wok/pot with 2 to 3 inches cooking oil, enough to submerge crab pieces, including the head. Heat oil to 350°F over high heat, then carefully fry in batches, arranging crab pieces in a single layer in the oil. Turn over pieces with tongs to fry evenly.
When the crab pieces turn red all over and the battered parts are golden, remove and shake the excess oil over your pot. Set aside (we like to set crab on a rack/grate and baking sheet to allow a little bit more oil to drip off). Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Once you’re ready to make your chili crab, heat a wok/pan on high heat and add 1 tablespoon cooking oil per crab. Sauté garlic, shallots, ginger, and chiles until aromatic (enough to make you cough—that’s how you know you got the GOOD stuff). Next, add the beautiful monstrosity that is your crab. Stir quickly for 10 to 15 seconds, then add Chili Crab Sauce. Cover, cook over high heat, and cook that bad boy (or girl) for 7 minutes.
Keep the pan over heat, but remove crab from pan and place on a serving dish. While reconstructing your sea beast, make sure to leave all the sauce in the wok/pan. Crack eggs into the sauce, and quickly mix to fully incorporate them and thicken the sauce. Increase to high heat and reduce sauce to desired thickness. (I like it pretty thick and a little bit gloppy GOOD.) Once done, remove from heat, and pour sauce all over the crab. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro. Serve with Buttermilk Beer Beignets. Break down the crab, sop up all that sauce, and eat like a Singaporean king!

Attribution for Recipes (CC BY-SA 3.0):


The recipes displayed in this app have been crated using content available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license. The recipes are based on the following dataset:

[Food Ingredients and Recipes Dataset with Images]

[Dataset URL] 

License: CC BY-SA 3.0

We  would like to express our gratitude to the content creators who contributed to the dataset and shared their work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, allowing us to showcase and share these recipes with you.

bottom of page