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The Hirshon Southeast Asian Creamy Butter Crab - Ketam Masak Berkrim or 奶油螃蟹

The Hirshon Southeast Asian Creamy Butter Crab – Ketam Masak Berkrim or 奶油螃蟹

  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • 700g fresh, LIVE local crab
  • peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • 70g best-quality butter + more as needed (or use some extra peanut oil if it is starting to brown)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic (through a garlic press) (TFD addition, omit for original recipe)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ginger paste (TFD addition, omit for original recipe)
  • 3 bird’s eye chilies (cili padi), minced (omit seeds if you want to lower the heat level, though in Southeast Asia, they leave them in!)
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, chopped
  • 1 can Carnation evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. chicken seasoning powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fish sauce (TFD addition – omit for original recipe)
  • 2 tsp. sugar (TFD Change – original was 4 tsp.)
  • salt and pepper to taste – be generous with the pepper to help cut the richness of this dish!)
  • 2 tsp. potato starch


  1. Clean the crab and chop into parts at home per the video in the post, or have your fishmonger do it and be prepared to make the recipe as soon as you get home – crab spoils FAST.
  2. Cut off the large claws and use a pair of bone-cutting shears to remove the sharp thorns.
  3. Heat some oil in a wok or pan and using medium heat, deep-fry the crab pieces. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the creamy butter sauce:
  5. Heat butter and let it melt completely – if using fish sauce, add it in now.
  6. Once the butter starts to bubble, add ginger and garlic and stir to cook until lightly caramelized. If you feel the fire is too hot, turn it down to medium as we don’t want the aromatics to burn – you can also add some peanut oil to lower the temperature and prevent burning.
  7. Add curry leaves and cook until fragrant.
  8. Add minced birds eye chilies to the mix. Stir until everything smells delicious! Next, add evaporated milk and stir through. Add chicken seasoning powder and sugar next, give it a stir, and give it a taste to ensure you like the balance of flavors. Add a little more salt or sugar as necessary. Add salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.
  9. Add crab and make sure the pieces are evenly coated by the sauce and stir occasionally until thoroughly cooked through.
  10. Serve creamy butter crabs with rice, toasted bread, or steamed mantou buns so you can sop up the delicious sauce!