Singapore-style chili dungeness crab

Singapore-style chili crab. Photo by megawatts86 shared on Flickr

When asked how best to celebrate National Crab Meat Day on March 9th, Elaine Frances, Global Aviation Executive Chef, doesn’t hesitate for a second. She says to “pull out lots of napkins” and try the catering department’s Northwest take on Singapore-style Chili Dungeness Crab.

Chili crab is the sweet and savory “unofficial” national dish of Singapore. The crabs, drenched in a tomato and chili-based sauce, are traditionally eaten with bare hands. Prepare to enjoy and get a little messy.

Dungeness crab

Dungeness crab

Living in the Northwest means diners can take this dish up a notch by using the seasonal and coveted Dungeness crabs. This year’s crab season is providing an especially superior big, stuffed-full crab according to the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. Head to the coast with your crab pots or find fresh catch in a wide variety of markets in the Portland area.

Singapore-Style Chili Dungeness Crabs

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients List

– 2 whole, cooked Dungeness crabs

– 1/4 cup tomato ketchup

– ¼ cup hot chili paste

– 2 Tbsps. oyster sauce

– 2 Tbsps. soy sauce

– 1 Tbsp. fish sauce

– 2 Tbsps. brown sugar

– 3 Tbsps. oil (canola or peanut)

– 4 scallions, sliced thinly

– 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

– 4 cloves garlic, grated

– 1 Serrano chili, grated

– 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish


Step One: 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.

Step Two: In a small mixing bowl, combine the ketchup, chili paste, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Thin with 1/4 cup water and set aside.

Step Three: Pour the oil into a wok or large skillet over high heat. When oil is smoking hot, add the scallion, ginger, garlic, 1/2 the chili, and cilantro and cook for one 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.

Step Four: Put onto a platter and garnish with the rest of the chili and cilantro. Serve with plenty of napkins!

Read more from the Global Aviation February 2016 Newsletter…

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