Singapore chilli crabs

Singapore chilli crabs

Ben's BBQ Bible
Billy Law

I came up with this version of Singapore chilli crab while I was holidaying in Port Douglas, in Far North Queensland. We’d met a couple at the apartments we were staying in, and Glen and I chartered a boat to go flshing. It cost us $120 each for the services of a guide who was more interested in making sure his missus dropped off a change of clothes for him so he could spend the night at the pub that evening!

One mud crab, a reef shark and three hours later, we returned triumphantly with the most expensive shark steaks and mud crab you could imagine. Bearing this in mind, along with the fact that it was Glen’s birthday, I thought I’d give the crab the royal treatment. What really helped this recipe was the local sambal I bought at the markets. To replace it you could buy a commercial chilli sauce, but sambal is nice and salty so try to source some from a good Asian food store.


Quantity Ingredient
6 medium to large blue swimmer crabs, cleaned and halved, claws cracked
1 cup chopped spring onions, white part only, plus 1½ cups nely sliced spring onions, green tops only
250ml tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon sambal
1-2 Fire-roasted peppers, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
100ml sunflower oil
100ml beer
freshly ground black pepper
1 finely sliced red chilli


  1. Preheat your barbecue hotplate to medium–high.
  2. Place the prepared crabs in a large stainless steel bowl, along with the spring onion whites, the ketchup, sambal, peppers, ginger and garlic.
  3. Pour the oil onto the hotplate, then add the contents of the bowl. Toss and fry.
  4. Place the bowl over the crabs, then pour beer around the edge of the bowl so it seeps underneath and steams the crabs. Lift up the bowl and toss the crabs to ensure they cook evenly. If necessary, add more beer to continue steaming.
  5. Remove the cover to check how they’re going by breaking a section of crab. When the meat is white, they’re cooked.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the spring onion greens and red chilli.
  7. Serve straight away, with steamed rice.
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