Black Pepper Crab


Black pepper amplifies crab's briny sweetness in this Singapore favorite. Use the freshest crab possible, and enjoy with lots of cold beer and have plenty of napkins handy. Snow or king crab legs may be substituted for Dungeness.

Black Pepper Crab
Photo: Ryan Liebe
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 2 cooked Dungeness crabs (3-3 1/2 pounds total), cleaned and quartered

  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 1 chubby 2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 2 tablespoons water plus 3/4 cup, divided

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Pull legs and claws off crabs, then use a nutcracker to crack them at the joints. Discard any bits of shell that come flying off. Pile the legs, claws and body sections on a plate.

  2. Pulse peppercorns in a mini food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small bowl. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and 2 tablespoons water to the food processor and process until a coarse paste forms. Return the crushed pepper and pulse to combine. (Alternatively, pound the aromatics with a mortar and pestle, adding the water gradually.)

  3. Stir the remaining 3/4 cup water, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl to combine. Set near the stove, along with the crabs and the seasoning paste.

  4. Warm oil in a large flat-bottom wok or large pot over medium-low heat. When hot enough to gently sizzle a bit of the seasoning paste, scrape in all the paste. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the oil starts separating from the paste, 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Add the sauce mixture to the pan, then increase the heat to high. When the mixture begins to bubble, dump in the crab. Stir-fry until the crab is heated through and coated evenly with the seasoning paste, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, if using. Arrange the crab on a large platter and serve immediately.



Nutrition Facts (per serving)

205 Calories
11g Fat
5g Carbs
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 205
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 20g 40%
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Vitamin A 90IU 2%
Sodium 807mg 35%
Potassium 416mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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