Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chilli Crabs (Malaysian Style)

I've only ever cooked crabs many years ago and have not made a crab dish ever since. In Singapore crabs are usually bought live as it would be at its freshest just prior to cooking. The first time I bought the crabs, I really had no idea on how to kill them. It seemed quite gruesome to kill something that is still alive. So what I did was to stick them in the freezer. To me it seemed to be a much more humane method.

The supermarket near my apartment has recently started to sell live seafood. So when we were there buying some fresh produce we asked one of the staff whether they could kill live crabs for us. And the answer was yes. So the week after we purchased one large size mud crab and had it killed. I then placed the crab pieces into the fridge when I got home to be cooked later in the evening for our dinner. Did you know that several versions of Chilli crab recipes exist in Asia? I guess the most popular one would be the Singapore Chillie Crab which has now become an icon to the country. Every single tourist visiting Singapore will definitely not miss out on tasting this national dish. However this version which I had chanced upon happened to be a version from my own country - Malaysia. It is slightly different from the chillie crabs that I have eaten in Singapore but this particular version had a distinct flavour on its own. Well for one, my hubby really enjoyed it! It says quite a bit already as he is not one who likes "fighting with his food" - that's how he terms eating crabs with fingers, that is.

Chillie Crab (Malaysian Style)
Recipe Adapted from Rasa Malaysia


1 Dungeness or Mud Crab (about 1 kg in weight)
1 sprig of coriander (chopped for garnishing only)
1 tablespoon of sugar (more if required)
2 tablespoons of tamarind juice
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1/4 cup of water

Spice Paste:

5 dried red chilies (soaked in hot water and deseeded)
2 fresh red chillies (cut into 1" slices)
1 tablespoon of taucheo (fermented yellow bean sauce)
2 small shallots
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger
2 inches of lemon grass (the white part only)

Tamarind Juice:
5 seeds of tamarind, add 2 tablespoon water and squeeze out the juice


1) Clean the crab and chop it into pieces.

2) Grind the spice paste in a blender or food processor until it is finely blended.

3) Soak the tamarind seeds in some warm water for 15 minutes. Extract the juice and discard the seeds.

4) Heat up deep frying pan or chinese wok and add cooking oil.

5) Stir fry the spice paste until fragant and spicy.

6) Add the crab and 1/4 cup of water and do a quick stir. Cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes.

8) Add in sugar, tamarind juice, a little salt to taste and continue stirring for about 2 minutes or until all crab pieces turned red.

9) Dish up, garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.


1) If you are not sure how to clean the crab, ask if your local market can do this for you.

2) Make sure you crack the shells of the crab (especially the claws) before cooking. (I used a small hammer to do this)


Angie's Recipes said...

Scrumptious! This crab dish is also very popular in China, and you almost can get it in every restaurant.

El said...

Incredible. I've never seen a seafood recipe quite like this. Makes me wish it were summer again!

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's 9:20am here and I am craving for these crab for dinner! Great photos.

Edith said...

Shiok looking. I still can't find the courage to "kill" those crabs.

Rasa Malaysia said...

I don't like my crab doused in ketchup or tomato-based sauce like Singapore-style chili crab. I think this version has more "depth." Hehe. I am glad you and hubz liked it. :)

Unknown said...

yum yum yum...i havent tried chilli crab in malaysia, but i am sure i will loveee it. scrumptious!

Pam said...

I can taste them from here - they look amazing.

Anonymous said...

Delicious crab preparation, would love to try this!

tigerfish said...


NKP said...

Wow -I have never cooked with whole crab before - I love it!
Great post.

The Duo Dishes said...

Good crab is hard to find. It'd be so worth it to try one of these recipes for chili crab.

Karine said...

This sounds delicious! Great combo of flavors :)

Pei-Lin said...

Dear Jo,

I've just passed an award on to you. Feel free to come and pick it up over on my blog if you'd like to though:

I've gotta give this crab dish a shot! Never kill a crab before ... LOL!! I only know SG has this dish ... but never of MY though. Keep it up, gal!

Cheers from Malaysia!


Anonymous said...

Wow this looks yummy. I hadn't heard about it. But crabs recipes are the best in the whole world, also it helps to dysfunctional problems. Of course it's even better Viagra Online for that.

Related Posts with Thumbnails