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Tangy chilli blue swimmer crab

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About Thomas

I write because I can type. I can type because I have a keyboard.

I am a new age Australian resident that is experiencing this new continent with a fresh set of eyes. 

I write on a wide range of topics. Well, I write on food. There you have it, I write on a wide range of food as well. 

This is one of the reasons crab season is one of my favourite foodie times of year.

It's blue swimmer crab season -- and I can’t wait to head to Mandurah for the annual festival celebrating this sweet crustacean.

Delicious chilli crabs.

Delicious chilli crabs. Picture: Shutterstock

While Australia is lucky enough to boast a wide range of edible crab species, for a real seafood treat try this chilli blue swimmer crab recipe.

It’s an effort to eat crabs, but totally worth it. This dish serves 3-4 people and takes about 45 minutes to make.

Chilli blue swimmer crab


  • 2kg blue swimmer crabs
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine (Shao)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • Lemon wedges, for finger bowls
  • Method

  • If live, place the crabs in the freezer for about 1 hour to euthanise.
  • To clean the crabs, lift the flap on the underside and pull off the top shell.
  • Remove and discard the grey, spongy, finger-like gills.
  • Rinse the crabs quickly under cold water to get rid of any muck.
  • Use a heavy knife or cleaver to cut each crab in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thirds.
  • Use the back of the knife to crack the claws and legs to let the sauce seep in while they cook.
  • Place the tomato sauce, sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, rice wine and 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat.
  • Add the garlic and chilli, and fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the crab pieces and give everything a bit of a mix.
  • Add the tomato sauce mixture and toss the crabs around to coat them well. You need to ensure that the sauce coats the crab, otherwise it won't pick up flavour.
  • Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and shake crabs around, then replace lid and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the shells turn orange and the meat is cooked through.
  • Pile the crabs and sauce into a large serving bowl and scatter over the coriander
  • Serve with lots of napkins and small bowls of water with lemon wedges to clean sticky fingers. Love crabs and have a recipe? Then share it with us on hotelnepal.

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