Singapore Chilli Lobster – the Chilli Crab’s Classy Cousin

This Singapore Chilli Lobster recipe is a play on the iconic Singapore Chilli Crab. I thought I’d add a twist to an old favourite, because I’m cool like that!

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Singapore Chilli Lobster LinsFood

Singapore Chilli Crab

The Chilli Crab is, arguably, one of Singapore’s greatest culinary inventions, you can click here to read more about it and for my very, very old recipe from home.

You’ll pleased to hear that, unlike in the Chilli Crab recipe, I will not insist on live lobsters. If you can get, and are not terrified of, live crustacea, then go get some fresh lobsters. However, for practicality, a freshly cooked, halved lobster is probably the best option. After all, we will quickly cook the lobster in boiling water before immersing it in the chilli sauce.

But just in case, if you do fancy grappling with a live lobster, I’ll give you a quick step by step guide to cooking and preparing one. If you’ve got a cooked one as mentioned above, go straight to step 2 in the instructions.

Singapore Chilli Lobster LinsFood

Cooking The Singapore Chilli Lobster

How to Cook a Live Lobster

Raw lobsters are usually dark with various specks of colour. Once cooked, the shells turn a deep red. When buying a live lobster, make sure that its claws are bound together, for obvious reasons.

You should kill the lobster just before cooking it. It’s generally agreed that the most humane way to do this is:

  1. Place the lobster in the freezer for about 2 hours to render it unconscious.
  2. At this point, the lobster shouldn’t be moving. Take a sharp knife, find the little cross over its head and plunge the knife straight through, very quickly; this ought to kill it instantly.
  3. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil and plunge the lobsters (one at a time if need be) and simmer for 15 minutes. The size of the lobsters will determine the length of cooking time. The first 500g (roughly 1lb) needs 15 minutes. Thereafter, it’s an additional 10 minutes for very extra 500g/about 1lb.
Singapore Chilli Lobster LinsFood

Preparing a Cooked Lobster

The Claws

  1. Twist off the claws and crack them with a pair of lobster crackers, if you have them, or use a hammer.
  2. Remove the meat with a small fork or spoon.

The Legs

  1. Twist them off, flatten with the back of a knife and remove the meat with a lobster pick or some thin double ended metal skewers. If you happen to knit, a knitting needle will do nicely too!
  2. Or, erm, just suck them out, like the locals do!

The Body

  1. We need to split the body in half. Insert a sharp knife at the same point earlier, when you were killing the lobster, and press and cut down firmly along the body.
  2. Do the same in the other direction to the head.
  3. Separate the two halves and remove the gills, the stomach sac and the intestinal vein.
  4. Leave the lobster in its shells and proceed with the recipes at step 2. One lobster will serve 2 people.

The green thing you see in the lobster is called tomalley and serves as the lobster’s liver and pancreas. Considered a delicacy, it can be eaten as is and is also used to flavour bisques and sauces.

However, there are health concerns, with reports of high levels of PCBs and toxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning in lobsters from certain areas. Find out of you have got a lobster from a reputable source and if you fancy eating that green thing!

Specialist Ingredients for making the Singapore Chilli Lobster


This is salted, fermented soy beans. It add a salty, earthy depth of flavour to dishes it’s used in.

Click here to read more and for substitutes.


A souring agent, used in so many cuisines around the world, tamarind is an essential ingredient in South East Asian cooking.

Click here to read more and for substitutes.

Shall we get our aprons on?

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor.

Lin xx

Singapore Chilli Lobster LinsFood

Singapore Chilli Lobster

This Singapore Chilli Lobster recipe is a play on the iconic Singapore Chilli Crab. I thought I’d add a twist to an old favourite, because I’m cool like that!
4.94 from 66 votes
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Course: Main Course with Rice or Bread
Cuisine: Singaporean Chinese
Keyword: lobster, seafood
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 194kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 2 medium lobsters
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind (mashed with 4 Tbsp water)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt to taste
  • 125 ml (½ cup) water
  • 1 egg beaten lightly
  • small handful chopped coriander leaves cilantro
  • very small handful chives chopped

Grind to a paste

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 cm (2½") fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp taucheo or use same amount of hoisin sauce or dark miso paste

You’ll need a large wok.


    To prepare the tamarind:

    • Soak the pulp in the water for 10-20 minutes. The hotter the water, the less time you need.
    • After the soaking time, give it all good mix with, squeezing the pulp with your fingers, then strain through a medium or large mesh sieve. Discard the seeds and pulp.

    Prepare the Lobsters

    • Look above on how to prepare the lobsters.

    Let's cook the Chilli Lobster!

    • Heat oil in a large wok and fry the ingredients until fragrant.
    • Add the tomatoes, water, ketchup, tamarind and lobsters, and give it a good stir. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, scooping up the sauce and covering the lobsters with it. You could also turn the lobster over for a couple of minutes.
    • Check the seasoning, add the egg and gently mix it in for 20 seconds, and turn the heat off and take the wok off the heat. The egg doesn’t want very long as you want wisps of it, not scrambled bits.
    • Garnish with the herbs and serve with some rice or crusty bread.

    Fancy Singapore Chilli Crab?


    Total time assumes you are working with a cooked and halved lobster.


    Serving: 4 | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 416mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg
    Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
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    19 thoughts on “Singapore Chilli Lobster – the Chilli Crab’s Classy Cousin”

    1. Tiara Wilson

      My goodness. This lobster chilli looks absolutely delicious. I would eat this in a heartbeat! Thank you for sharing this yummy meal!

    2. Wow this looks amazing and definitely something I’ve been craving! Sending this to my husband to make it for me for Mother’s Day lol

    3. The sauce sure sounds amazing and I would love to give it a try. I think it’s a versatile recipe, in case you don’t have a good source of quality lobster.

    4. I love seafood and this post is really helpful for me! Plus I’ll be going to Singapore very soon so I think I should keep this post in mind till i get there haha:)

    5. Claudia Krusch

      It has been so long since I had lobster. This looks so delicious I am sure it will be a hit. I will have to get the ingredients I need to make some this weekend.

    6. That sounds SO good. I am having people over for dinner this coming weekend and this would be awesome to serve 🙂

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