Singaporean Chili Crab


  • 2½ lbs. Mud Crab or similar crustacean
  • 8 ea. Chiles De Arbol, stemmed
  • 6 ea. Garlic Cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 ea. Holland Chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 ea. Shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 T Taucu, Soy Bean Paste
  • 1 (5-in.) piece Ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ¼ c Canola Oil
  • 1 T Belacan Shrimp Paste
  • 8 oz. Tomato Puree
  • ½ c Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 ea. Large Egg
  • 3 T White Vinegar
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  • Green Onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
  • Steamed or Fried Buns, such as Homei brand


Remove the carapace from the crab; wash, scrub and remove the lungs. Break the crab down into parts. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Rehydrate the chiles de arbol. Add to a food processor and purée with garlic, Holland chiles, shallots, taucu and ginger.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add belacan and cook, breaking it up into a paste until fragrant and toasted. Add garlic paste, and cook for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for about 4 minutes. Add crab, chili sauce and 2½ cups of water, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes.

Drop egg in the sauce, and slowly whisk in. Season with the vinegar and sugar. Transfer to a plate, and garnish with the cilantro and scallions. Serve with the steamed buns. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Chef Salil Mehta Singapura, New York City