Jack Stein’s Cornish chilli crab from BBC Saturday Kitchen


Jack Stein’s Cornish chilli crab

This is a variant of the classic Singapore chilli crab using British brown crab which has a much sweeter flavour. I also like to add some Marmite to the soy sauce to deepen the savoury flavour of the sauce. This is a perfect dish to be shared as it involves lots of mess and is always a great conversation starter!

Serves 4


  • 2 kg cooked brown crab
  • 4 tablespoons groundnut or sunflower oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 medium-hot, red, Dutch chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon marmite
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) water
  • 2 spring onions, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces and finely shredded length ways
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander


Put the crab on its back on the chopping board, so that the claws and
softer body section face upwards, then simply twist off the main claws,
leaving the legs attached to the body.

Now put your thumbs against the hard shell close to the crab’s tail, and
push and prise the body section out and away from the shell, the legs
should still be attached to the body.

Remove the small stomach sac situated just behind the crab’s mouth and
pull away the feather-like gills (dead man’s fingers) which are attached
along the edges of the centre part and discard.

Using a teaspoon, scoop out the brown meat from inside the shell and

Chop the body into quarters and then cut the main claws in half at the
joint. Crack the shells of each piece with a hammer or the back of a large

Heat the oil, garlic, ginger and chilli in a wok for a minute to allow their aromas to release.

Next, turn up the heat and fry off the brown crab meat, then add the ketchup, soy, marmite and water. These all add savoury and sweet notes to the finished dishes.

Now stir-fry the crab for 2 minutes and finally finish with chopped coriander and spring onions.

Serve immediately with lots of finger bowls and napkins as this is a messy dish.