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Chili Crab

 by Chef Salil Mehta


Michelin Star Chef Salil Mehta's love for Southeast Asian cuisine is expertly showcased at his NYC restaurants. 

Singapore Chili Crab is one of the national dishes of Singapore and meant to be eaten with only your bare hands.


  • 1 (2 -3 pound) mud crab
    8 chiles de arbol, stemmed
    2 Tbsp soy bean paste (Taucu)
    6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
    4 Holland chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
    3 small shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 (5-inch) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    ¼ cup|60 ml canola oil
    1 Tbsp belachan
    8 ounces|240 grams tomato purée
    ½ cup|160 grams sweet chili sauce
    1 large egg
    3 Tbsp white vinegar
    Granulated sugar, to taste
    Fresh cilantro, to serve
    Thinly sliced scallions, to serve
    Steamed or fried buns (Homei brand), to serve


  1. Prepare the crab: Remove the carapice from the crab. Wash, scrub, and remove the lungs. Break the crab down into parts. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  2.  Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the dry chiles and remove from the heat. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft. Place in the bowl of a food processor along with the taucu, garlic, Holland chiles, shallots, and ginger. Purée into a paste and set aside.

  3.  Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high. Add the belachan and cook, breaking it up into a paste, until fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it darkens in color, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they release their oils, 4 minutes. Add the crab, chili sauce, and 2 ½ cups water and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover. Cook until the crab is bright red and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.

  4.  Drop the egg in the sauce and slowly whisk in to create a silky sauce. Season with the vinegar and sugar. Transfer to a plate and garnish with the cilantro and scallions. Serve with the steamed buns.

Makes 4 Servings





Follow: @chefsalilmehta
Visit Chef Salil's Restaurants:
Laut Singapura

Michelin Star Chef Salil Mehta's love for Southeast Asian cuisine is expertly showcased at his NYC restaurants. 

QWhat is your favorite ingredient to cook with?

A:  Chicken Fat because it enhances and changes the flavor profile of the dish.

Q:  How would you describe your style of cooking?

A:   Whimsical

Q:  What dish do you truly feel reflects your personality, passion and style of cooking?
A:   Singapore Chili Crab

QWhere do you draw you inspiration from?
A: I draw inspiration from everything and anything. Random thoughts pop up in my head and can lead to a new idea for a dish. The seasons play a big role for me.


Q:  Why do you think 1947 Beer pairs so well with your dishes?

A: Starts with the flavor profile and attention to what we use in our food.

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