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Chilli Crab

The year 1984 was one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the Philippines. The assassination of a leading government critic prompted a mass movement called the People’s Power, which mobilised the populace and lead to the collapsed of an openly corrupt government.

On a personal note, it was also the year that I brought my daughter Lisa on a business trip to Kuala Lumpur, courtesy of a food equipment supplier. We visited several placed including a Buddhist shrine, a Malay kampong, a fishing village, and a tourist resort in Genting. Blessed by our hosts’ hospitality, we were treated to a memorable feast. Renowned for it’s house specialty, the Chilli Crab, the Chinese/Malay restaurant was a favourite with locals and a must for tourists eager to sample the native cuisine. The delectable aroma and my daughter’s enthusiasm to try the dish that was clearly on everyone’s table abated my concerns to whether she could handle the intensity of the chilli. The tender flesh encapsulated in natural juices and a combination of tantalising flavours was served with crusty fresh bread. Devouring the dish eagerly, we soon discovered the reason for its popularity.

I tried to develop the Chilli Crab recipe a few times at home. The rest of our children Patricia and Patrick who were only four and six years old at the time, soon became accustomed to include chilli in their diet.

The Temasek Restaurant in Parramatta renowned for authentic Malaysian/Chinese cuisine, serves one of the best Chilli Crab dishes in the city. You will need to request the dish a week before the booking date.

There are variations to the recipe with the main difference being the country of origin, as well as the quantity and type of chilli added. However, the Chilli Crab that I tasted in Malaysia is the best so far.


Mud crab                                            1¾ Kg. (about 3 large crabs)

Cooking oil                                         ½ Cup

Water                                                  1¾ Cup

Ginger                                                 200 Grams, finely shredded

Garlic                                                  6 Cloves, finely chopped

Brown preserved

     Soy beans                                       2 Tbsp. (common name Tao-Cheo)

Light Soy Sauce                                 3 Tbsp.

Refined sugar                                     4 Tbsp.

Garlic flavoured

     Chilli sauce                                                5 Tbsp.

Tomato ketchup                                  20 Tbsp.

Eggs (lightly beaten)                          2 Pcs.

Tapioca flour                                      1 Tbsp.

Spring onions                                     2 Stalks

Coriander leaves                                 5 stalks




1. Heat oil.

2. Add Ginger till half cooked.

3. Add garlic and continue frying until golden brown

4. Add seasoning and stir fry well.

5. Add crabs and ½ cup water. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, then increase heat and add remaining water and cover for 5 minutes

6. Uncover and stir well adding in egg and stir until well-cooked.

7. Add in flour for thickening.

8. Garnish with onion and coriander leaves. Toss and remove from cooking pan. Serve with fresh crusty bread.


is a UP Diliman B.S. Food Technology graduate and experienced food technologist, manager, franchised business entrepreneur and former owner of the Sans Rivals, The Crescent Fairfield, NSW.