Wednesday, August 13, 2014

black pepper flower crabs

I love crabs. I love love love love love crabs.
The LAM does not care for crabs.

YAY! That means I don't have to share my crabs with him. :P

Today I went to the market and I saw this heap of flower crabs at the fishmonger's. I started salivating so I bought some.

When I came home, the crabs were cleaned. How? See here.
Then came the more important part - what to cook them with. Since I am a pepper nut (ie, I am crazy about pepper), I decided to cook the crabs with black pepper!

To do so, I first had to grind the black peppercorns. I am really fortunate because the LAM bought me a spice grinder, but if you do not have one, just use a pestle and mortar to pound the peppercorns.
I also sliced the shallots, ginger and minced the garlic.
In a heated wok, I added some vegetable oil and fried the curry leaves until they turned crispy. They were then transferred into a dish and set aside.
Into the same oil, I added the shallots, ginger and garlic. This was fried until  they had turned almost golden brown.
And in went the crabs.
And the butter.
I gave everything a good stir. Then I added the black and white peppers, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar.
Once everything was well-mixed, I added water. This is essentially a dry dish so don't add too much water.
I covered the wok and reduced the heat. The crabs were left to cook for about 5 minutes.

When the crabs were cooked through, I turned the heat up, added the Shaoxing wine and the corn starch slurry.
As soon as the gravy had thickened, the dish was done!
I scattered the curry leaves on top before serving the crabs.

The crabs are best when eaten immediately.
The dish is not overly spicy so you can taste the sweetness of the crab meat.

But there is enough pepper to leave a warm glow in your mouth long after the last pincer was eaten.

Just one word - SHIOK!! :D

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Black Pepper Flower Crab (Serves 4-6)
Adapted from

1 kg flower crabs, cleaned and cut into halves
4 cloves garlic, minced
30g ginger, julienne
2 cloves of shallots, sliced
10 curry leaves
2 tbsp coarse black pepper
Dash of white pepper
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons corn flour, added to 1/4 cup water to make a slurry
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons cooking oil
10g butter

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok. Fry curry leaves until fragrant and crisp. Remove from wok and set aside.
2. Add 2 tablespoons oil into wok and heat. Fry garlic, ginger and shallots until almost golden brown.
3. Throw in crabs. Add butter, then black pepper, white pepper, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and stir-fry for a minute. Add water. Cover and leave to cook for 5-6 minutes.
4. Add corn starch slurry to the wok. Add Shaoxing wine and allow the mixture to simmer for another 2-3 minutes until the gravy thickens.
5. Add curry leaves and stir quickly.
6. Serve immediately, with rice if desired.


  1. Shiok shiok ! I love crabs too ... especially big jumbo ones sri lanka hee hee.. flower crabs also attack !

    1. I plan to get some sri lanka crabs very soon. CRAVING now!!!!

  2. my favourite, black pepper crab! you are making me craving for it again although I just had it less than 2 weeks ago lol. next time must invite me over to have some share hahaha...

    1. Jess, anytime!!!! Crabs taste better when many people are eating together!

  3. Diana,

    This is my family favourite. We love flower crabs.
    Yours looks so inviting ..YUM


    1. Thanks Doreen!! Flower crabs are so under rated. They are actually really sweet. Ah well, less people eat, more for you and me!

  4. Hi Diana! Unfortunately I am not crazy about crabs. Why? Because I hate to peel them hee...hee...But I like this recipe. I am thinking that they could work for prawns too.

  5. MY GOODNESS! I am not a flower crab fan but this one looks so good that I think I may just have to try it!

    1. I just showed the pic to my husband and he made a face. Haha more for me indeed!