Singapore Chilli Crab Domes – Whip it UP!

By: Chef Teo Yeow Siang  

An elegant interpretation of one of Singapore’s signature dishes, this chilli crab dish is ideal for cocktails and home dinner parties. Chef Teo Yeow Siang elevates its presentation and serves it tapas-style, keeping it essentially Asian using mantou buns while maintaining its Singaporean identity.

Total Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: 4/5
Cost: $45.00*
Servings: 7-8 persons

A: To Extract Crabmeat

1 large Sri Lanka crab* or 454g can shelled crabmeat
3-4 ginger slices
4 tablespoons salt

B: Chilli Crab Paste

100ml oil
20g shallot, peeled and minced
10g ginger, peeled and minced
10g garlic, peeled and minced
80g sambal (chilli paste)
100g tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
200ml chicken stock, store-bought

C: Coating Gel

100g tomato sauce
200ml water
30g vegetable gelatine

D: To Assemble 

360g pack frozen mantou (steamed buns)
200g toasted breadcrumbs

E: Garnish 

Cress or spring onion, julienned


Mousse cake ring, 4cm diameter
2 silicone baking moulds x 15 mini semi-spheres per mould


1.  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add in ginger and salt, followed by crab. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Set crab aside to cool down.

cooking crab

2. Extract meat from crab to get approximately 400g of sweet-tasting meat with briny accents. Discard shell.

Extracting crabmeat

3.  In a saucepan, heat up the oil. Put in shallots followed by ginger and garlic. Sauté until brown. Then, add in sambal and tomato sauce. Stir well until well incorporated.



4. Pour in chicken stock to enhance the flavour. Continue to cook another 5 minutes.

chicken stock


5. Add in crabmeat. Season with sugar to taste. Bring it to a boil. Remove saucepan from heat.



6. Fill up silicone moulds with chilli crab mixture.

silicone mould


7. Using a spatula, level the surface, while scraping away any excess. Place it in freezer for 20 minutes or until it firms up.

levelling crabmeat in silicone mould


8:  Coating gel:  combine both B and C ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Turn off heat immediately. Allow it to cool down, approximately 5 minutes.


9. To unmould chilli crab domes, poke through each dome with a toothpick. Gently scrap off any excess. Dip each piece into coating gel.

coating gel


10. Slice each mantou into 4 pieces. Using the 4cm ring, press it into the mantou and cut out rounds. You’ll need 30 pieces.

mantou rounds


11. Heat up oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. To test if oil is hot enough for frying, dip one end of the chopstick into it. If oil sizzles around the chopstick, it is ready. Deepfry mantou until golden brown. This is the base for chilli crab domes.

deepfried mantou


12. Place coated dome on top of deep-fried mantou. Repeat until all the 30 pieces are assembled. Apportion 4 domes per person. Serve on toasted breadcrumbs.

Assembled dish


13. Garnish with cress or spring onion. Serve immediately.

garnish with herbs


NOTE: Choose fresh Sri Lankan large crabs that weigh at least 1 kg. They cost considerably higher than smaller ones but are far meatier.


TIP:  How to choose crab packed with meat? Ensure crustaceans are stored in a dry environment. Choose those that smell fresh (you should get visions of the sea). Crabs should be active, possessing a firm belly that’s bulging with a tint of yellow, indicating it’s meaty. Full grown crabs have well-used claws which have blunt and flattened teeth.


Teo Yeow Siang (often referred to as Chef Siang) is Executive Chef of Purple Sage. He’s a member of the award-winning Singapore National Culinary Team.

Photos: Purple Sage


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