• Crab with chilli (The Chefs' Line)Source: The Chefs' Line

It's one of chef Dan Hong's all-time favourite dishes - the juicy crab. Home cook Samantha's winning blue swimmer is not only cooked perfectly but knocked everyone's socks off (and you can knock your guests' socks off, too). The Chefs' Line






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (28 votes)


  • 2 large or 3 medium blue swimmer crabs, cleaned
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil 
  • 125 ml (½ cup) tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce 
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp corn flour 
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 


  • 1½ tbsp spicy black bean sauce                                               
  • 6 dried long chillies, soaked                                                           
  • 10 garlic cloves                                                                              
  • 3 cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped  

Sambal belacan 

  • 4 long red chillies
  • 2 red birds eye chillies 
  • 3 cm piece belacan (shrimp paste), toasted
  • ½ tsp sugar 
  • Juice of 1 lime 

Vegetable side dish

  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped 
  • 1 red Asian shallot, finely sliced  
  • 1 bunch baby bok choy
  • Coriander leaves, thinly sliced spring onion, finely sliced red chilli, dried chilli threads, lime wedges and steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Using a cleaver, chop the crab into quarters and break the legs in half. Refrigerate until required.

For the paste, place all the ingredients in a mortar and pound with a pestle until a paste forms.

For the sambal belacan, place all the ingredients in a mortar and pound with a pestle until a paste forms. Spoon into a small serving bowl.

For the vegetable side dish, combine all the ingredients except the bok choy in a bowl and set aside. This will be the sauce.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the chilli paste and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the crabs, increase the heat to high and stir until well coated in the sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, sugar, dark sauce, pepper and 150 ml water and stir again. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the crabs have turned pink and are just cooked through. Dissolve the cornflour in 2 tablespoons cold water, then add 1 tablespoon at a time to thicken the sauce. At the very last moment, pour over the beaten egg, then turn off the flame and stir the crabs before spooning onto a serving plate.

While the crab is cooking, cook the bok choy in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds or until just softened. Drain and place on a serving dish, then pour the reserved sauce over the top.

Garnish the crab with coriander, spring onion and sliced chilli. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and bok choy with the sambal belacan to the side.


This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!