Singapore Chili Crab Burger

It is this time of the year again. Singapore's 53rd Birthday! I actually thought of doing something different, but still wound up with this burger idea. What better way to celebrate the national day than to revisit my Singapore Chili Crab Burger?

Yeah, that recipe is 3 years old and in dire need for a revisit and revamp. I used the same old trick for the crab patties from my Black Pepper Crab Burger, but I divided into 4 patties instead of 2. The patties this time round have more structure, able to hold it's shape during deep frying and assembly as compared to the old recipe. I am using a very simple slaw. I do not want to complicate things, like the old saying, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. As for the sauce, I added XO sauce this time. I learnt about this from an old chef. He stated that the addition of XO sauce will add that special umami aftertaste. Indeed, he is right! You can use homemade or store bought.

Mdm Cher Yam Tian and her husband Mr. Lim Choo Ngee began selling stir-fried crabs sauted with bottled chilli and tomato sauce from a pushcart way back in the 1950s. That was an improvised recipe as the original dish did not involve any bottled chilli sauce. It was later established into a restaurant located in Palm Beach. That is how Singapore Chili Crab came about. Let's devour this burger while admiring it's roots and history.


(Make 4 burgers)

  • Crab Patties:

  • Unsalted Butter, 2 TBSP

  • Red Onion Thinly Sliced, 1

  • Granulated Sugar, 1/2 TBSP

  • Good Quality Crab Meat Fresh / Frozen, 100g

  • Hua Tiao Wine / Shaoxing Wine, 1 TBSP

  • Unsalted Butter, 30g

  • Bleached All Purpose Flour, 25g

  • Whole Milk, 150g

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Canola / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, For Greasing + Frying

  • Tempura Flour, 1/2 Cup or More

  • Panko Japanese Bread Crumb, 1/2 Cup Or More

  • Eggs Lightly Beaten, 2

  • Chili Crab Mayo:

  • Dried Red Chilies Deseeded, 5 Adjust to Preference

  • Shallots Roughly Minced, 3

  • Garlic Roughly Minced, 4 Cloves

  • Fresh Red Chilies Deseeded, 3 Adjust to Preference

  • Lemongrass White Parts Only Finely Sliced, 1 Stalk

  • Candle Nuts / Macadamia Nuts, 3

  • Galangal Finely Minced, 1/2 Inch

  • Fresh Lime Juice, 1 Lime

  • Belacan Fermented Shrimp Paste, 1 TBSP

  • Canola / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, 2 1/2 TBSP

  • Tomato Ketchup, 2 1/2 TBSP

  • Hoisin Sauce, 1/2 TBSP

  • Oyster Sauce, 1/2 TBSP

  • Pure Honey, 1 TBSP

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Hua Tiao Wine / Shaoxing Wine, 1 TBSP

  • Kewpie Mayo, For Mixing

  • Homemade XO Sauce or Lee Kum Kee's, For Mixing

  • Burger:

  • Coriander Coarsely Chopped, A Handful

  • Green Onion Coarsely Chopped, A Handful

  • Carrot Grated, 1/4

  • Iceberg Lettuce Shredded, 1/4

  • Fresh Lime Juice, 1 Lime

  • Sesame Oil, 1 TBSP

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Fried Mantou, 4


  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Dutch Oven

  • Baking Tray


  1. Please visit my “How To Make XO Sauce” page for the homemade XO sauce recipe.

  2. Please visit my “How To Make Mantou / Bao / Turnover Bao” page for the fried mantou recipe.

  3. Prepare the crab patties.

  4. In a skillet over medium heat, add butter.

  5. As soon as the butter starts to melt, add in onion.

  6. Saute until translucent.

  7. Season with salt and pepper.

  8. Add in sugar and turn the heat down to low.

  9. Continue saute until the onion is caramelized, about 20 to 30 mins.

  10. Add in crab meat and saute for about 1 min.

  11. Deglaze with hua tiao wine, season with salt and pepper. Saute to combine well.

  12. Remove from heat and set aside.

  13. In the same skillet over medium heat, add butter to deglaze.

  14. As soon as the butter starts to melt, add in flour.

  15. Whisk to combine well and until a dough-like-consistency is form.

  16. Gradually add in milk in small portions while still whisking to combine.

  17. *Make sure no lumps.*

  18. Once all the milk has incorporated, you should get a thick saucy gravy.

  19. Add in the crab onion mixture.

  20. Stir to combine well.

  21. Season well with salt and pepper.

  22. onto a lightly greased baking tray.Give it a final stir, remove from heat and transfer

  23. Spread the mixture out out evenly.

  24. Cover with cling film and freeze in the freezer for 30 mins, no more no less.

  25. While the crab meat is firming up, prepare the chili crab mayo.

  26. Add dried chilies in a bowl of hot water.

  27. Allow the dried chilies to soak and soften in the hot water for about 30 mins.

  28. After the dried chilies have soften, discard the water and transfer the chilies into a food processor.

  29. Add the rest of the ingredients

  30. Blitz until fine paste and set aside.

  31. In a skillet over medium heat, add in belacan.

  32. Toast the belacan until aromatic.

  33. Add in the spice mix and canola oil.

  34. Saute until most of the liquid is evaporated.

  35. Add ketchup, hoisin and oyster sauce.

  36. Stir well to combine.

  37. Continue sauting until the color darken.

  38. Add in honey, season with salt and pepper.

  39. Deglaze the skillet with hua tiao wine.

  40. Give it a couple of stirs.

  41. Remove from heat and set aside.

  42. *The chili crab mayo will be 1 part chili crab paste, 2 parts mayo and 1 part XO suace.*

  43. Stir to combine well.

  44. Keep chill in the fridge until ready to use.

  45. Prepare the crab patties.

  46. Remove from freezer and divide into 4 equal portions using a weight scale.

  47. Lightly grease your hands with oil.

  48. Form each portion into a patty disc shape.

  49. Transfer tempura flour, panko and eggs into individual shallow bowls.

  50. *If you can’t find tempura flour, sift 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 TBSP rice flour and 1/2 TBSP cornstarch together.*

  51. Add canola oil into a dutch oven, about 2 inches in depth, over medium heat.

  52. *To check if the temperature of the oil is ready, place a wooden chopstick into the oil.

  53. If bubbles start to form, the temperature is ready for frying.*

  54. Dredge a crab patty into tempura flour.

  55. Shake off excess flour.

  56. Dredge into the beaten egg and lastly into panko.

  57. Gently drop the patty into the oil away from you.

  58. Deep fry until golden brown on both sides.

  59. Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  60. Repeat the process for the remaining crab patties.

  61. Set aside.

  62. Assemble the burger.

  63. In a bowl, add in coriander, green onion, carrot, lettuce, lime juice and sesame oil.

  64. Season with salt and pepper.

  65. Toss to combine well.

  66. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

  67. Slice the deep fried mantou lengthwise in half.

  68. Spread the chili crab mayo onto the bottom and top bun.

  69. Top with the crab patties, follow by the coriander slaw.

  70. Cover the burger with the top bun.

  71. Repeat the process for the remaining burgers.

  72. Serve immediately.

My previous attempt from 2015...

#singapore #burger #anythinginbetween #SG52 #chilicrab

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