Yes, I have been cooking this recipe for almost 30 years. I am a crab fanatic and I used to have crab every week, taught my domestic helper to make chilli crab, pepper crab, any kind of crab and she became so good at cleaning and cooking crab.

It is Singaporean to love the chili crab. Way before the Punggol Seafood places became popular and way before the East Coast Parkway had a whole row of seafood places, and of course before the No Signboard crab places started, we cooked crabs in our homes. It was almost always chili crabs eaten with french baguette.

We are asked to go get the baguette whenever dad’s going to make chili crabs. My dad always uses dried chilies, always taocheo (fermented soya beans) and always with tomato ketchup.

I recoined the whole recipe, tried and error for a few years before I settled on this one. This is a regular feature in our home since the kids can ever remember. It is always a hit with family and friends. So what is the secret ingredient? The kaffir leaves.  Remember that. 🙂

I have also done this with lobsters.



30-year-old Singapore Chili Crab Recipe


  • 3 medium sized crabs cut into 5 pieces each - top shell, body into quarters
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 spring/green onions cut into 1.5 inches long

Sauce to be ground together

  • 1 cup water
  • 11/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce or ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Fermented soya bean or taocheo
  • 3 kaffir leaves
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large sweet chili or 6 regular chilies
  • 6 dried chilies


  • Heat up the oil and place the prepared crabs into the pot.
  • Remove the seeds from all the chilies and grind all the ingredients of the sauce together.
  • Put all sauce into the crabs once the crabs have turned pink.
  • Let it boil till thicken.
  • Serve with sping/green onion toppings with steamed rice, baguette or mantou.

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