Chilli Crab

One thing I really miss living in the UK is live crabs. In UK we get boiled crabs but live crabs are so difficult to find and can be very expensive. I have tried frozen cooked crabs from Lidl they were full of water and hardly any meat at all. Today I saw some frozen raw crabs from the Chinese supermarket. I have to give this a try. Chilli crab is something I have in mind that I have not had for many years.

This recipe is lip smacking and finger licking good i.e. if you like eating with fingers and crunching crab shells. Dressed crab don't work with this recipe. If you don't like crab shells, you can sub with extra large king prawns with shell or lobster cut into chunks. If using prawns use less water/ pineapple juice.

The crab turned out to be rather nice though not as good as live. I will try again when I have a craving.

Chilli Crab (serve about 2 on its own - 4/5 with other dishes)


1 kg of crab with shell, cleaned and in large chunks (best use live, if not frozen raw, boiled is fine too, don't use boiled & frozen it's useless)
1 thumb size ginger piece cut into thin slices
about 5 tbsp cooking oil
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 - 3 tbsp yellow bean sauce/ paste
dash of light soy sauce (optional)
some sugar (optional)
about 3 - 5 tbsp chopped chillies* (amount depends on individual taste and hotness of chillies)
splodge of tomato ketchup
1 tsp of shrimp paste or belachan
about 2 - 3 tbsp tamarind puree/juice (extract from 1 walnut size of wet tamarind and hot water)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of water or light beer
1 small tin of pineapple cut into bite size with juice, can also use fresh pineapple (if using juice from tin use less water/beer)
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 large egg beaten
a little conflour and water for thickening (optional)
2 stalks of spring onion, roughly chopped
Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped.
some chilli oil (optional)
Extra spring onion, coriander and chillies as garnish

  1. Heat wok or large pan with oil and fry ginger for about 30 sec, add garlic and stir till slightly brown, then add yellow bean paste, shrimp paste and chilli and stir fry till the mixture gives out very strong fragrance.
  2. Add crab pieces turn the heat to the highest and stir fry for a minute or two (if using raw crab cook a bit longer). Taste if it is salty enough if not add dash of soy sauce, sugar to taste, tomato ketchup, tamarind, water, pineapple and its juice, tomatoes pieces and stir, covered and cooked for about 5 minutes till steaming hot and the sauce is bubbling hot. Pour the beaten egg in long thin stream into the boiling sauce and stirring the crab slowly at the same time so the egg cooked like ribbons. If the sauce is not thick enough, add enough cornflour solution to thicken. Add chopped spring onion and coriander. Ready to plate up. Drizzle some chilli oil to make the sauce looks glistening and reddish if wish.
  3. Decorate with more spring onion, coriander and chillies.

* If the sauce is not spicy hot enough can add in as much hot chilli sauce like Sriracha.

Serve hot with rice and plenty of cold beer.


  1. Hi - you can get live crab (and other types of live seafood in tanks) at See Woo cash and carry in Greenwich. It is kinda pricey but at least you know it is *really* fresh...


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