Eat me, I am HOT & SPICY!

Malaysian Pepper Crab

You may notice that a new wave of Asian inspired dishes have gradually appeared on this humble blog. I have been in a real Asian food craze lately and naturally enough the current Asian theme will keep on going for a while. Hope you too enjoy this exploration with me…

The dish I feature today must be one of my most favorite ways of cooking crab. It´s hot, spicy, peppery, rich and full of flavors to just explode in your mouth. This fiery dish, Black Pepper Crab, comes from Malaysian eclectic and exotic cuisine. It reflects the perfect blend of ingredients from different cuisines in Malaysian food, something which I love deeply. Read this short introduction and you will be amazed by the diversity of this cuisine.

To make this, you first need to get very fresh crabs. I have used Blue Swimmer Crab (the freshest I could find), but I think the original recipe uses mud crab. Also, fresh curry leaves are required. My Asian supermarket normally sells it fresh, and these leaves freeze beautifully. The recipe also calls for fermented soy bean paste (tau cheo – click here to see the photo), which should be available at Asian store. Other ingredients like black peppercorns, black soy sauce & oyster sauce should be easily found in well-stocked supermarket. And yes, butter is used here. Anything with butter tastes so good, and this is no exception!

Since it is rather spicy, you may wish to reduce the amount of chili and pepper to start up with. This is the type of dish where your hands need to get messy. I quite enjoy the experience. You should really try!

Malaysian Pepper Crab

Black Pepper Crab

Recipe from this book


2 tbsp dried prawns

2 kg (4lbs) fresh crabs

¼ cup oil

2 tbsp butter

2 shallots, minced

7 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fermented soy bean tau cheo, mashed

3 ½ tbsp black pepper corns, lightly toasted in a non-stick pan, then coarsely ground

½ cup curry leaves

10 red bird´s eye chillies, whole

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

¼ cup water


  1. Rinse & drain the dried prawns, Dry toast them in a skillet. Allow to cool and grind coarsely in a mortar.
  2. Prepare the crabs: lift the triangular-shaped apron on the underside of the crab. Pull the top shell off the body. Discard the grey gills on either side of the body and any spongy grey matter. Clean the crab thoroughly. Quarter the crab and crack the claws so the spices can penetrate.
  3. Heal the oil in a wok and stir-fry the crab over high heat for 5 mins. Cover the wok and let the crab cook for 3 mins longer. Set the crab aside.
  4. In the same wok, melt the butter in the remaining oil over medium heat. Stir-fry the shallots, garlic, fermented soy bean, dried prawns, black pepper corns, curry leaves and chillies until fragrant – about 3-5 mins. Add the crab and the remaining ingredients. Cook for 5-10 mins until the crabs are pink and cooked through.
  5. Serve immediately.

Malaysian Pepper Crab

42 Responses to Eat me, I am HOT & SPICY!

  1. East Meets West Kitchen says:

    I love black pepper crab, and yours is absolutely stunning!

  2. Asha says:

    HHHHHOT!! :D

  3. veron says:

    Ooh goodness, what a delicious sight to behold. Love crab…but I will make mine less spicy.

  4. Manggy says:

    The second pic looks so menacing and irresistible at the same time, it’s so weird! I love spicy food and crustaceans of all forms, so yeah, this does it for me :)

  5. Deborah says:

    Wow – this sounds amazing. I need to find an Asian market that supplies these ingredients!

  6. Patricia Scarpin says:

    The crab looks mouthwatering, sweetie – just pour me a glass of water and here I go!

  7. Jennifer says:

    So pretty! The fishmonger at our farmer’s market has been selling fresh crabs lately…maybe I’ll pick some up and try this!

  8. Cheryl says:

    Holy moly! I don’t think a better looking dish could be served at one of the best restaurants. That looks amazing and oh so spicy!!

  9. tigerfish says:

    Yum Yum, I am a crab lover. Miss Chili and Black Pepper Crabs (those big fat Sri Lankan crabs) back home!

  10. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    This looks so good and is beautifully photographed!

  11. Mishmash ! says:

    Anh, I can almost smell those pungent peppercorns and aromatic curry leaves….It looks so good and must be spicy enough for me…sluurrrrrrrrp !!!

  12. winedeb says:

    WOW ! My hubby would adore this dish as I grow all of our hot peppers for him. The crab looks marvelous!

  13. Figs Olives Wine says:

    This literally just made my mouth water! How incredibly beautiful this dish is, and I’m in heaven over the idea of all that flavor! I love fresh curry leaves, and anything this succulent and spicy is right up my alley. Thanks for such a gorgeous recipe!

  14. Wendy says:

    Adore crab. My neighbour dives off the west coast of Scotland and occasionally brings me back a fresh crab. Will keep this in mind for next time!

  15. holybasil says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time. Your photos look delicious. Thanks for posting this!

  16. Callipygia says:

    This looks so unbelievably good, completely worth getting hands and face messy over.

  17. Mike says:

    Looks fantastic–I really like your presentation in that first photo.

  18. Anh says:

    EMWK, I too love this recipe!

  19. Precious Moments says:

    This definitely looks hot and spicy. yum yum.

  20. Sandeepa says:

    Is this a Vietnamese dish ? I ahve to find a Vietnamese restaurant …fasssssst.

  21. Lydia says:

    Is this the same as Chili Crab? My mouth is watering as I read your post and look at those amazing photos.

  22. Cynthia says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! just feed me!

  23. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    Wow! I can only imagine what a wonderful flavor punch this dish packs. Can I stop by and try it sometime?

  24. Andaliman says:

    absolutely delicious..

  25. Anh says:

    Edith. you like spicy seafood rite? :D

  26. Nabeela says:

    That looks and sounds fantastic. I’ve never tried cooking crab on my own…and my husband loves it. I should give it a try sometime.

  27. Kitchen Goddess says:

    That looks absolutely stunning. Just my sort of food, can’t wait to give it a go.

  28. Kate says:

    crab is my most fav sea food.And i think Asians do full justice to their crabs.. I hate it when they serve it western style just boiled with some stupid sauce. i have two blue crabs sitting in my freezer even now …. i’m thinking crab curry or crab in spicy sea salt…. but i just might go for the pepper now :)And the best way to eat crabs is with your fingers. i sometimes embarrass my hubby

  29. Truffle says:

    Breath taking Anh. What a fabulous dish. Will have to serve this one up myself very soon!

  30. Retno Prihadana says:

    I love Crabs!I can found only frozen crabs :( in Asia store.

  31. Anh says:

    nabeela, cooking crab is not hard at all. Once you do it, you will not be afraid anymore!

  32. Dwiana P says:

    Judging from the picture, this crab must be sooooo delicous!!! especially hot and spicy? wow. that is absolutely my fav.

  33. Arfi Binsted says:

    oh YUM!! I love to cook this with jewfish. They’re delicious! You remind me of my mum’s cooking, Anh!

  34. wmw says:

    Came over when I saw the gorgeous crab pic from Tastespotting! Bet you cook a mean Pho! (which I love…)

  35. Belinda says:

    I love hot and spicy foods, and I love all of the interesting dishes you prepare, Anh. In my little southern town, I’d unfortunately never be able to find fresh curry leaves, or some of the other ingredients, but I really enjoy learning about new to me recipes from all of my favorite blogs…yours included, of course! :-)

  36. Seena says:

    The pictures enough to tempt crab lovers..Loved the bird’s picture too..,..excellent..!

  37. Wandering Chopsticks says:

    What about cua rang muoi VNese-style? 😉

  38. Amy says:

    This looks sooooo absolutely delicious! I wish I can have some for lunch. :)

  39. Andhra Flavors says:

    This looks delicious!

  40. Rose says:

    Oh my God. I stumble upon this yummy palace today and your dish makes me drool all over the keyboard.

  41. Stu says:

    Bang! This was one of the most intense flavour explosions I've had the joy of putting to my palate! I've had the advantage of having a good run of both blue swimmers and muddies right off the front of the beach where I live in Cairns recently, so I've used both in this recipe and compared. The mud crab seemed to deal with the flavours a bit better; more flavourful itself, I think.

  42. Anh says:

    Stu. I agree! Mud crabs are way better here. I will try to find some. Sydney seafood is so much better than Melbourne!! 😀 Now I need an army to eat this hahaha 😛

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