Watch: A step-by-step guide to making Singapore's iconic chilli mud crab

Watch: A step-by-step guide to making Singapore's iconic chilli mud crab

The recipe includes a thick tomato and chilli based soup

Singaporean chilli mud crab Video Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

Singaporean food is a fusion of the different immigrant culinary cultures in the country, which consists mainly of the Chinese, Indian and Malaysian. Mukta Purain, co-owner of Sedap Asian Street Kitchen, said: "A tomato based soup or gravy dish that is inspired by Indian style of cooking has become a part of Singapore's culinary practice."


1 kg mud crab, cleaned 

3 tbsp chilli sauce, you can add sambal to tomate purée and make your own chilli sauce or simply use store brought ones

1 tbsp sambal (recipe below)

4 laddle or cups of prawn or chicken stock

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp garlic, fried or sautéd

For Sambal

100 gms ginger-garlic paste, equal measures

200 gms dry red chillies

2 onions

1 tbsp shrimp paste or Belacan, optional


1. To make sambal - grind ginger-garlic paste, dried red chillies, onions, add shrimp paste into a blender and make it into a fine paste, keep it aside.

2. Heat a pan, big enough to give you room to fit 1 kg of crab. Pour oil in it and then add two tablespoons of garlic  and fry it, until it turns to brown in colour.

3. Once the colour starts turning golden, turn off the flame and continue stirring the garlic.

4. Next, add chilli sauce and sambal sauce to the garlic mix and fry it. Keep stirring until the oil begins to separate.

Stir the soup and crabs well
Stir the soup and crabs well Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

5. Then, add four ladles of chicken stock to the mix. This will make enough soup to cook 1 kg of crab in. By now, the water will begin to boil.

6. Add sugar, tomato ketchup and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and bring the soup to a boil.

7. Next, add the cleaned crab to the soup. Break an egg and pour the yolk (the yellow part) inside the crab head and allow it to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. According to chef Jaslin, adding an egg yolk prevents any toxins or fat from spreading out.

8. After 3 minutes, when you open the lid the colour of the soup and cooked crab will have turned to a nice crimson red.

9. It's time to thicken the soup. Now, add some cornstarch to the soup. Here, we take about 3 tablespoons of cornflour and whisk it in 2 cups of water. Do not add the cornflour directly, always make a paste first. Do this on a low flame.

A step-by-step guide to making Singaporean chilli mud crab
Add cornstarch to thicken the soup Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

10. In a bowl, whisk two eggs and pour it in the crab soup. At this point, stir the crab mix gently for about 10 to 15 seconds.

Singaporean chilli mud crab
Add the whisked eggs to the soup mix Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

To plate: Transfer the crab in a large shallow serving dish, pour the sauce over it, garnish with fresh corainder or cilantro and serve hot and fresh. They are typically served with golden mantou buns, which are basically steamed and fluffy Chinese buns that make it easy for the soup to be absorbed well, with every bite. If not, a crusty loaf or brioche will always make for a good pairing.

Singaporean chilli mud crab
Singaporean chilli mud crab Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

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