Singapore Black Pepper Crab

Crabs on the platter

Crabs on the platter

Yesterday a late, quick trip over to Monkey Mia netted us (literally) 10 crabs. It was slow going initially with the first few, while over legal size, not big enough for my planned Singapore Black Pepper Crab. After two hours crabbing, with the sun starting to drop in the sky, we headed home with 6 smaller ones and those 4 precious larger crabs-my plan was saved!

Turning them upside down sends them to sleep

Turning them upside down sends them to sleep

It was beautiful out there. The water was oily making it easy to see the dolphins out hunting, and we saw a huge (bigger than I’ve ever seen) flock of cormorants fishing amongst them. A couple of sour notes though-2 days earlier, we’d seen a hire kayak left anchored out where we crab, while the paddlers went back to shore in a tinny, then returned for the kayak. It (the kayak) had been tied to something with a bottle marking the spot. It was still there yesterday so we retrieved it. A plastic bottle tied by super strong fishing line was tied to a star picket-imagine if you got all that around your propeller !! Not long after that we picked up an empty stubby floating by-take your own rubbish home!

The recipe I made tonight is from a cookbook called Spice. I reckon we had about 1.4kg crabs but I prepared all the sauce so we could make bigger messes of ourselves and have some over rice!

Singapore Black Pepper Crab

  • 3 tablespoons ketjap manis
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 kg raw blue swimmer crabs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 -2 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
Crabs in the wok

Crabs in the wok


  1. Put ketjap manis, oyster sauce, sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl, stir, then set aside.
  2. Pull back the apron of each crab, remove top shell, then intestines and feathery gills. Rinse quickly.
  3. Cut each crab into quarters and crack the legs gently (I use a meat mallet) so the flavours can enter.
  4. Heat the oil in a very large wok over high heat; add the crab pieces and stir fry in batches until the shell is bright orange and the meat almost cooked (about 5 minutes). Remove and repeat until all is cooked.
  5. Add the butter, ginger, garlic, chilli, black and white peppers and coriander to the wok; stir fry 30 seconds.
  6. Add the sauce mixture and stir; bring to the boil, then simmer 2 minutes.
  7. Return the crab to the wok and toss to coat in the sauce.
  8. Cook a further 2-3 minutes to finish cooking the crab then garnish with the spring onions and coriander leaves.
  9. Serve.
Crab on the plate

Crab on the plate

Crab almost gone

Crab almost gone

I have to say, it might seem like a huge amount of pepper, but it works really well. I reckon I could feed it to my non-pepper eating friend Janette and she’d like it!


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