A Singaporean specialty, among locals this dish is arguably more popular than the chilli crab that visitors to Singapore love. There are many different variations of this dish – some creamy, some spicy – but my version keeps it quite simple.






Skill level

Average: 4.5 (1 vote)


  • 1 large live mud crab (about 1.5 kg)
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2-cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50 g butter
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • good pinch of sugar
  • 5 spring onions, cut into 5-cm lengths
  • 2 tsp cornflour mixed into 125 ml (½ cup) water
  • coriander sprigs, 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.


  1. Clean the crab and divide into 6 portions (2 claws and 4 body portions). Use a cleaver to crack the claws.
  2. Place the garlic, ginger and onion in a small food processor or blender and blend into a coarse paste.
  3. Heat a wok over medium heat and toast the pepper for 1–2 minutes or until fragrant, then remove from the wok. Add the oil and the garlic, ginger and onion paste and fry for about 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the butter and allow to melt, then add the pepper, ground coriander, stock, fish sauce, wine and sugar. Add the crab and stir to coat. Cover and steam the crab for about 12 minutes or until just cooked through.
  4. Remove the crab pieces to a serving plate, then add the spring onion to the wok with the sauce. Pour in the cornflour mixture and simmer until thickened to the consistency of pouring cream. Pour the sauce over the crab and scatter with coriander sprigs to serve.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.