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Chilli mud crab

Fingerbowls and bibs are a must here.

You'll need

2 live mud crabs (about 1kg each) 6 kaffir lime leaves, torn 2 red birdseye chillies, thinly sliced Juice of 2 limes, or to taste 1 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 bunch each coriander and Thai basil, coarsely torn 2 spring onions, thinly sliced   Chilli jam 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil 1 onion, finely chopped 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 15 gm (3cm piece) each of galangal and ginger, finely grated 3 long red chillies, thinly sliced 80 gm light palm sugar, plus extra grated for seasoning 2 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste


  • 01
  • Place crabs in freezer to render them insensible (30-40 minutes). Meanwhile, bring a stockpot (see note) of heavily salted water to the boil. Add crab, cover and cook until cooked through (15-20 minutes). Drain, then remove top shell from crab, discard gills and coral, quarter crabs, crack claws, set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for chilli jam, heat oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add onion, sauté until beginning to caramelise (15-20 minutes), then add garlic, galangal, ginger and chilli and sauté until chilli is tender (5-10 minutes). Transfer to a food processor, process until finely chopped, return to wok with palm sugar and fish sauce and sauté until caramelised (5-10 minutes). Add crab, lime leaves, chilli and 40ml water and stir until crab is heated through (5-10 minutes). Add lime juice and fish sauce and check seasoning, adding more juice, fish sauce and sugar to balance to your taste. Add egg and stir until egg is cooked and crab is well coated (2-4 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, scatter with herbs and onions, serve hot.

Note You'll need a big pot to cook both crabs at once. Alternatively, cook them one at a time.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Lots of cold lager.

Featured in

Dec 2009

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