Recreate the flavours of Singapore chilli crab at home. It's a lot quicker and easier than you might think.


  • 4 uncooked blue swimmer crabs
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 long fresh red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh galangal
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine or sherry
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated palm sugar
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve


  1. To segment the crab, lift the triangular tail flap on the underside of the body and hold.With the other hand, pull off the top part of the shell. Discard the top shell. Remove and discard the spongy, finger-like gills. Cut the body into quarters. Use a nutcracker or the blunt edge of a large knife to crack the large claws.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Add the crab and stir-fry for 10 minutes or until the shell changes colour and meat turns white.
  3. Add the chilli, garlic, galangal and lemongrass and stir-fry for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, wine, kecap manis, lime juice and sugar and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add half the green onions and coriander and toss until just combined.
  4. Spoon the crab and sauce among serving bowls. Sprinkle with remaining green onion and coriander. Serve immediately with steamed rice, if desired.