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Kleenheat Kitchen: Singapore Chilli Crabs with Mantou

Eva + Debra’s Recipe

Serves 4
Chilli Crabs

5 blue swimmer crabs

2 brown onions, roughly chopped

4-8 red chillies, chopped

125 ml vegetable oil

3 tsp shrimp paste (belacan)

250 ml tomato puree

¼ cup light soy sauce

¼ cup white sugar

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp white vinegar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cornflour or potato starch, mixed with 125 ml water

1 egg, lightly beaten

coriander leaves, to serve


1 sachet dried yeast (7g)

1 cup milk, warmed

¼ cup sugar

3 cups Lighthouse Cake, Sponge & Steamed Bun Self Raising Flour

1 tbsp oil

Chilli Crab
  1. Remove the crab’s top shell and chop the crab into quarters. Crack the claws to allow the flavours to penetrate. Set aside.
  2. Place the onion and chilli in a food processor and process to a puree.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onion and chilli puree and the shrimp paste, and fry for 6-7 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the paste begins to change colour.
  5. Add the tomato puree, soy sauce, sugar, tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and salt, and mix through.
  6. Add combined cornflour and water and bring to the boil.
  7. Add the crab pieces and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the shells turn red and the crab is cooked through.
  8. Stir through the egg and toss lightly to coat. Garnish with coriander.
  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warmed (not more than 40˚C) milk. Add the flour and oil and mix until a dough forms.
  2. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes until smooth, soft and elastic. Alternatively use the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer.
  3. Shape dough into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to rest in a warm place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 portions. Roll each portion into small balls and place on prepared tray, covering with a damp tea towel. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  5. Place buns, in batches, in perpared steamer basket over a wok of simmering water. Steam, covered and without touching, for 12 minutes or until cooked through.

(Image credit: Aaron Rebeiro @

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