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Cobourg Peninsula Chilli Mud Crab

Posted on 14 March, 2016 in Cobourg

Mud crab is one of the NT's most iconic and delicious seafoods. It has amazingly sweet flesh and is hugely popular with tourists and locals alike. On the Cobourg Peninsula we are lucky enough to have a very healthy mud crab population and are able to take a few for our guests to try. Being part of a Marine Park it means crab pots are banned so we have to catch them the old fashion way, the way Indigenous people have been doing it for thousands of years; by spear.


Catching crabs by spear might not be as easy as throwing in a few crab pots but it's a very rewarding way to collect your own dinner. On most tours that visit Cobourg we take guests out at low tides in search of these delicacies which we find around rocky outcrops and around the mangroves.

There are numerous ways to cook crab, many people opting to simply boil or steam them which definitely has their merits. But for us and many Territorian's you just can't beat a good chilli mud crab! A good recipe will not overpower the sweet, sweet crab meat but rather enhance it into something truly delicious.

It seems every Territorian has their own chilli mud crab recipe and everyone's is the best!

Well, here is our much loved chilli mud crab recipe. We cook it all the time for our guests at Cobourg Coastal Camp and funnily enough there's never been leftovers...


  • 1kg raw mud crab
  • 2 tbs peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh long red chillies, seeded and sliced
  • 2 tbs hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup (125mm) tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup (60mm) sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 4 spring onions sliced
  • Fresh coriander sprigs to garnish


1. Clean crabs removing all guts and gills. Segment crab body into 4. Crack claws to allow flavours to penetrate.

2. Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the crab pieces and stir fry for about 8 minutes or until turned red. Stir in the hoisin, tomato, sweet chilli and fish sauces, the sesame oil and ¼ cup of water. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 8 minutes or until the flesh is white throughout.

4. Sprinkle with spring onion and serve on a platter, garnish with coriander, serve with rice.