Thai Chili Crab Recipe


  • 2 pounds fresh crab (fresh or frozen snow or king crab)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (or 1 1/2 to 2 cups oil if deep-frying)
  • 2 shallots (minced, or 1/2 cooking onion, chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 fresh red chile (minced)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece galangal or ginger (sliced into matchstick-like pieces)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons chili sauce (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in 4 tablespoons water)
  • 3 spring onions (finely sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Set a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons oil and swirl around, then add the shallot or onion, garlic, red chile, and galangal or ginger. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, adding a splash of white wine to the pan when it becomes dry.

  3. Add chicken broth, chili sauce, ketchup (or tomato sauce), soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir well over medium-high until combined. Set aside until crab is cooked.

  4. Cook crab using one of the methods below. Add cooked crab to the sauce. Using 2 large utensils, gently turn the crab in the sauce to coat.

  5. Break the egg into a cup and combine it with the cornstarch dissolved in water. Whisk with a fork.

  6. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Stir well to combine (sauce will thicken). Turn heat to low, continuing to stir.

  7. Taste test for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If too spicy, add a little more tomato sauce (or tomato juice).

  8. To serve, use tongs to lift crab out of the pan onto a serving platter or large serving bowl. Pour the sauce over and sprinkle with green onion. Serve with finger wipes (you must use your hands to eat this dish).

To Deep-Fry the Crab

  1. Place 2 cups oil in wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Test the oil by dipping one end of a crab leg into the pan. The oil should sizzle and easily bubble around the crab (if nothing happens, the oil is still not hot enough). Make sure your crab is thawed and dry before placing it in the oil, or it may splatter.

  2. Using tongs, fry the crab until the shells turn bright red (1 minute or less). You may have to cut some of the legs to fit in the pan. Fry in batches of 4 to 5 legs. Be careful to stand back in case the oil splatters. Drain on paper towels.