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Singapore-Style Chili Crabs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 17 min
  • Prep: 7 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 4 appetizer servings
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2 whole cooked Dungeness crabs

1/4 cup tomato ketchup

2 tablespoons hot chili paste

2 tablespoons oyster sauce or Indonesian soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or regular soy sauce

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

3 tablespoons peanut oil

4 scallions, sliced thin

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 serrano chile, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish


  1. Pull the main shell off the crab and discard it. Remove the gray gills and the soft insides. Cut the body in half and then cut between each leg. Crack the legs and claws with the back of the knife or a hammer and set aside.
  2. In a bowl mix the ketchup, chili paste, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and tamarind paste; thin it with 1/4 cup water and set aside. Pour the oil into a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the scallion, ginger, garlic, 1/2 the chile, and cilantro and cook for 1 minute. Add the crab and stir-fry for another minute. Pour in the sauce and continue cooking, stirring often, until the crab has absorbed the sauce and the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Put onto a platter and garnish with the rest of the chile and cilantro. Serve with plenty of napkins!