Singapore Soft Shell Chilli Crab

Singapore Soft Shell Chilli Crab


I don't really believe in signature dishes but this is a dish I always go to every now and then, I love it and it has a personal meaning to me as well. It is my favourite dish at Shangril-la Fijiian where I got married.

This is my version, it's a little smoky from the chipotle with a good spice kick as well. The crabs are a little difficult to get but worth it as you can eat the whole thing including the shell that's why they are called soft shell crabs.


Ingredients – Sauce enough for 15 portions of an entree but I advised that this is the minimum you make and then freeze whatever you don’t use


2 Jumbo white onions,

8 Red chillies
150g Prawns, raw, skin off

½ tbsp vinegar
6 tbsp oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
400ml Crushed tomatoes
4 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar

½ bottle Tabasco chipotle

Taste for spice and adjust as necessary



1 Yellow capsicum cut into 2cm wide strips

1 Green capsicum cut into 2cm wide strips

1 Red onion finely sliced

1 Jumbo carrot cut into the thinnest strips you can manage

50g Coriander, finely chopped including some stalks



1 Soft shell crab per guest

20g Fine polenta

50g Fresh coriander (micro if you can get it) for garnish



First make the sauce

  1. 1. Roughly dice the 2 onions, red chillies (seeds in) and raw prawns and put them into a blender and blend to a paste.
  2. 2. Put this into a pot large enough to eventually hold all the ingredients and fry until well coloured, add tomato paste and fry again.
  3. 3. In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except the water.
  4. 4. Add the above to the frying mix and stir, scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. (You will not be able to avoid having a few!)
  5. 5. Add water to adjust the consistency to a soup consistency, it’ll slightly thicken when cooled.


For serving:

You need two separate fry pans.

  1. 1. Season the crab then coat in the polenta.
  2. 2. Add oil to a pan and when really hot add the crab.
  3. 3. In the other hot and oiled pan, add the vegetables, including the coriander and fry until softened.
  4. 4. Turn the crab and put it in the oven face up.
  5. 5. Add a ladleful of sauce to the vegetables. N.B at this stage you can add more water (or stock) to get your desired consistency.
  6. 6. If you’re nervous about the crab probe for temperature but 7 minutes in a hot oven should be fine.
  7. 7. For serving, in your bowl put the sauce with the vegetables down and the crab on top and garnish with coriander.