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Chili Crabs

Like most people, I love the sweetness of Dungeness crabs. They are reasonable priced this time of the year. So, if you are into crabs, do try this Chili Crabs recipe. The chili sauce requires a little advance preparation, but, the end result is well worth the effort.

*This is an updated post with a video cooking guide. (Previously posted on 11/11/11)

Chili Crabs


2 (about 4 lbs) Dungeness Crabs, cut into 6 pieces (each crab), reserved Tomalley, if any
25 to 30 g Tamarind Paste, soften with 150 ml of Water, strained, discard seeds
1 Tbsp Sugar
Sea Salt To Taste
4 Tbsp Peanut or any vegetable oil

Sambal Paste
30 (30 g) Dried Chilies, cut into smaller pieces

2 Cloves Garlic, peeled 

8 (130 g) Shallots, peeled, chopped

4 Candlenuts (Buah Keras)


Make Sambal Paste:Soak the dried chili pieces with boiling water until they are soften, about 10 minutes. Drain the soaked chilies with a colander, and make sure to shake off all the seeds. Combine all the ingredients and process until it becomes a fine paste.

In a large wok or saucepan over moderate heat, fry the sambal paste with 4 Tbsp oil until fragrant. Turn the heat on high and mix in the tamarind mixture and bring it to a boil. Toss in the crabs; stir well until the crabs are coated with the sambal. Mix in the tomalley, and season with sugar and salt. Lower the heat, closed with a lid for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the crabs are fully cook and the sambal almost dry. Dish out and serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. I'm a big fan of Dungeness Crabs as well. I've prepared them in several different ways, but nothing like this. This looks delicious! It's been saved to my recipe folder!

  2. Now this version of Chilli Crab I want to eat... not those cooked with sweet chilli sauce!

  3. This chile crab dish looks absolutely delicious! My family is a big fan of crabs, and I am saving this to try out. Thanks!

  4. oh that looks absolutely smashing! I love anything with chilli in it


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