Chili Crab (Crab in Sour and Spicy Sauce)
January 30th, 2011 40 Comments

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. LimeCake says:

    Oh my gosh that looks fantastic! I’m in Singapore right now, coincidentally, and I think I might just have to have this for dinner tonight!

  2. Lily G says:

    Have a great trip and Happy Chinese New Year!

  3. Kelantan Gal says:

    Have a safe journey home. Can’t wait for you to share all the good-eats you will have.
    Gong Xi Fa Cai!

  4. Irene says:

    Geeze, this is my favourite dish from kid til now. I love it very much

  5. Yum! We’d love for you to share your stuff with us over at!

  6. I can definitely unable to say no to this dish… the gravy alone is to die for!

  7. My mouth is WATERING! YUM!
    Happy New Year!

  8. daphne says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s really hard to beat a slurpy man tao soaked up with chili crab sauce! Happy CNY to you.

  9. Simon says:

    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.

  10. Razzleberry says:

    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.

  11. Rabeeya says:

    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.

  12. Alta says:

    Yum. Its only 5:30 am here but i want this.

  13. Maya says:

    Hi Bee – another great crab recipe! Happy CNY to you and your family and have a wonderful trip home!

  14. Joni Lee says:

    my ultimate FAVORITE dish.. thanks for posting! Happy Chinese New Year! really enjoy your website.

  15. Su-yin says:

    I just made this last week! Great minds ;) I made it with prawns though as it’s very hard to find fresh crabs here…

  16. This is one of my favorites to have when I’m in Singapore and my favorite is the buns dipped in the sauce, probably even more so than the crab ;)

  17. I love chili crab, looks so delicious. Wish you and your family a Happy Lunar New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

  18. Just in time! I might try this by weekend. :) Thanks!

  19. Sweet Tim says:

    My husband loves crabs, so I think this is a good recipe to start with for CNY! Gong Xi Fa Cai to you!

  20. Dorach says:

    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 :-)

  21. The crab looks so delicious! I miss seafood a lot! This recipe is something that I should really try. Thanks a lot.

  22. Jeune says:

    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.

  23. Madeline says:

    Thank you for sharing the delicious crab recipe. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy new year! Have a great trip!

  24. Tao Tao says:

    Indeed, looks fantastic!
    And as for me – the spicier, the better :-)

  25. That looks amazing. Never thought of using Lingham’s before. Thanks for the recipe!

  26. That final shot of the mantou dunked into sauce is glorious! I’m not sure if I can find that particular brand of hot sauce so is there any other (common) brand that you think is a good substitute?

  27. lc tan says:

    Difficult to cut live crabs. Can I use soft crabs, the ones that are already sold “dead”. Thks.

  28. David Tan says:

    Your concoction of Chilli Crab really got me & my whole family salivating.

    Will try out your recipe this weekend!

  29. noobcook says:

    The sauce with the mantou is really shiok! Happy CNY to you and your loved ones :)

  30. Marion Montgomery says:

    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!

  31. sarah says:

    Hi, if i do not want to use the Shaoxing wine, what can i use to replace it..

  32. Hoi says:

    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.

  33. stewartc says:

    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!

  34. Tieu-Linh says:

    Are there any other alternatives to the Shaoxing wine? Or is it a must?

  35. Rebecca says:

    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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