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Chili Crab (Crab in Sour and Spicy Sauce)

Sour and Spicy Crab (酸辣蟹)
Sour and Spicy Crab (酸辣蟹) pictures (1 of 5)

We will be leaving for Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year tomorrow morning. Before I leave, I feel obliged to share a very delicious recipe with you, so here is my crab in sour and spicy sauce (酸辣蟹), or known as “chili crab” in Singapore. The timing couldn’t be better as Chinese (Lunar) New Year is just a few days away and I am sure many of you are scouring the web for a great recipe to share with the family.

I have an equally tasty home-style chili crab recipe (my late mother’s recipe) but this rendition with the eggy, sweet, sour, and spicy sauce is perfect for entertaining guests or simply when you want to have a crab feast. The sauce pairs beautifully with Chinese mantou—steamed or fried—as the bun sops up the scrumptious and addictive spicy and sour sauce. I prefer the soft and puffy steamed buns…

I made this for my good friends E and N last weekend and they practically begged me to share the recipe. I took them to the Asian market and got them the “starter kit” or ingredients to prepare this dish. For the crab, we are lucky as Dungeness crab is in season and the market will clean and cut it up for you. Save the shell and pick out the tamale or mustard inside the shell. Add them in the sauce and you will be rewarded with a richly flavorful sauce that you just can’t stop eating. You can also prepare this dish with mud crab, blue swimmer crab, or stone crab but I just love the fleshy Dungeness crab.


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40 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Simon

    I’m soo jealous Bee. I really want to try and squeeze in a trip to thailand and malaysia. Just savin up for a Nikon D7000 first. This looks extremely nice. I’m actually inspired to learn how to cook malay food more, and open my town’s first asian restaurant serving some simple nyonya items on the menu.

    Have a nice trip, and enjoy yourself in the place i badly wish i could go now. How does this sauce go with for example chicken?. Was just thinking, because unfortunately my stomach doesn’t agree too well with sea food.

  2. Razzleberry

    Happy New Year and Happy eating in Singapore! My mouth is watering and now I am craving some crab after seeing your pictures! I can’t wait for the nightly fisherman’s market where they sell fresh caught seafood at the pier in San Pedro…That isn’t until Friday night. :( Until then, I’ll just try not to chew my labtop.

  3. Rabeeya

    I was wondering… Would this work well with Prawns/shrimps? peeled and de-veined. I have some large prawns on hand, frozen. And I am looking for a nice recipe with a good sauce for them.

  4. Dorach

    Cooked this tonight using the biggest prawns I could find. It is super duper yummy. Made a memorable CNY eve dinner, as per your suggestion :-)

  5. I have always wanted to try Chili Crab! This looks like a recipe that is easy to make :)

    One look at the picture though and I somehow got the feeling that there was ketchup in it. I am not so sure about that though.

  6. Marion Montgomery

    On our honeymoon in Singapore in 1987, we went to the east shore before the redevelopment. Tables and chairs set on the dirt around the cook fires, no menus, just say what you want. Chili crab, wanted to take a bath in the sauce! I made this on Super Bowl Sunday, delicious! Sopped up all the sauce, the crab was good,too!

  7. Hoi

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this on the weekend and the sauce is spot on. It brought back all the memories of chilli crab from Singapore. This is a keeper.

  8. stewartc

    Wow – how has it taken me this long to find your website??? It is fantastic! Tried this crab after wanting to re-create what I had in Singapore and it is delicious and very authentic. Everyone raved about it. Congratulations!

  9. Rebecca

    Thanks for sharing. I love to sift some flour / corn flour or tapioca flour onto the cut side of the crab, then pan fry with some oil to golden the dish up. I will use spring onion — the white part to add more aroma, fry them with the sliced ginger and garlic.
    Since you have buns or mantou, I will deep fry them in hot oil and remove once they are slightly golden, dish up then deep fry the crabs !! Once awhile to eat the deep fried buns or mantou, is ok. A restaurant served deep fried mamtou with curry chicken too !! Yummy !!
    Chinese New Year is at the corner, wishing you and your family always Healthy and Happy and Wealthy !!

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