Singapore Chilli Crab

This is a go-to dish anytime there is fresh brown or spider crab as each has a different taste profile but works equally as well. The original recipe was from a famous cooking school in Padstow but has been tweaked a bit over time. It’s a simple dish as it is all done in a wok and is very quick to prepare. If you like spice you can pimp that up easily depending on who you are serving to. It’s one of those dishes you simply drop in the middle of the table and everyone gets stuck in. Don’t forget the napkins for this one.


2 cooked crab, 900g each, chopped into pieces, reserving the brown meat from the main back shell

4 tbsp oil

5 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 knob of fresh ginger, 2.5 cm (1 inch), finely chopped

4 tbsp of tomato ketchup

3 red chillies (if you are brave go with 4 including the seeds)

2 tbsp of dark soy sauce

150ml of water (to start with, sometimes you need to add a little bit more)

black pepper, a few turns of the mill

2 spring onions, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces, finely shredded

Lemon to serve


Break down the crab using one of your not so special knives in the kitchen drawer. Pull the crab apart including the claws and crack the shells so the sauce can get inside as you cook.


Heat the oil in a large wok. 

Add the crab pieces (not the brown meat just yet) and stir-fry for 3 minutes then remove. Then add the garlic and the ginger and stir fry for about a minute.

Add the brown meat and juices from the back shell, the tomato ketchup, red chillies, soy sauce, water and black pepper and cook down for a few minutes. Then add the crab pieces back to the wok. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes.

There is only one way to serve this… Spoon the crab onto a large plate (this is great when you’ve got mates over), sprinkle over the shredded spring onions, get it to the table and simply dive in.