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A black wok filled with cooked crab in a red chilli sauce

Singapore chilli crab

Published: October 4, 2021 at 1:08 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 4-6

This popular street food dish of fresh or Dungeness crab is fried in a sweet and spicy sauce. Egg thickens the broth and tomato ketchup adds to the vibrant orange colour of the cooked crabs. Be sure to have some bread at hand so you can mop up every last bit

  • Gluten free
low inkcal229

Make this Singapore chilli crab, then check out our crab cakes, crab linguine, crab rolls and more crab recipes.

Recipe tip: Ask your fishmonger to cook the crabs for you, or buy them ready-cooked, then you can remove the legs and body, discard the dead man’s fingers (gills) and chop the shell and body into quarters.



  • 150g dried chillies, soaked in warm water until soft
  • 3 candlenuts or macadamias
  • 2cm piece ginger, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2cm piece galangal, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
  • 200g long shallots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp belachan (shrimp paste)
  • sugar, to taste


  • neutral oil, for frying
  • 6 tbsp rumpah, see above
  • 300ml tomato ketchup
  • 2 (about 1kg each) whole brown crabs, cooked and chopped into pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp cornflour


  • STEP 1
    To make the rumpah, put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until completely smooth. Tip into a large non-stick frying pan and cook gently for 1 hour, stirring regularly, until darkened. Cool and chill until needed – this will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, or you can divide it into portions and freeze.
  • STEP 2

    To make the chilli crab, heat a wok with a little oil, then fry the rumpah for 5 minutes. Add half the ketchup and fry for a few more minutes. Add the crab, along with a good splash of water, then fry for 2 minutes, turning to coat in the sauce. Put on a lid and simmer for 5 minutes until the crab has warmed through. Season to taste with the sugar and salt. Add the remaining ketchup and a splash of water to make it saucy.

  • STEP 3
    Add the eggs and fry everything together. Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a thin paste. Add half of the cornflour paste and simmer until thickened, adding more of the cornflour and cooking it in the same way if needed. Season to taste before serving.

Find more inspiration for

Quick and Easy Cacio E Pepe Recipe with Crab

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