Chilli Crab Recipe



  • dried chillies 150g, soaked in warm water until soft
  • candlenuts or macadamias 3
  • ginger 2cm piece, chopped
  • garlic 6 cloves, chopped
  • galangal 2cm piece, chopped
  • lemongrass 2 stalks, chopped
  • shallots 200g long, chopped
  • belachan (shrimp paste) 1 tbsp
  • sugar to taste


  • neutral oil for frying
  • rumpah 6 tbsp, see above
  • tomato ketchup 300ml
  • whole brown crabs 2 (about 1kg each), cooked and chopped into pieces
  • sugar 2-3 tbsp
  • eggs 2, beaten
  • cornflour 1 tbsp

Step 1

To make the chilli paste, put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until completely smooth. Tip into a large non-stick frying pan and cook gently for 1 hour, stirring regularly, until darkened. Cool and chill until needed – this will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, or you can divide it into portions and freeze.

Step 2

To make the chilli crab, heat a wok with a little oil, then fry the rumpah for 5 minutes. Add half the ketchup and fry for a few more minutes. Add the crab, along with a good splash of water, then fry for 2 minutes, turning to coat in the sauce. Put on a lid and simmer for 5 minutes until the crab has warmed through. Season to taste with the sugar and salt. Add the remaining ketchup and a splash of water to make it saucy.

Step 3

Add the eggs and fry everything together. Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a thin paste. Add half of the cornflour paste and simmer until thickened, adding more of the cornflour and cooking it in the same way if needed. Season to taste before serving.

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