Rating: 5 stars
2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
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Growing up in the Philippines, my dad would catch a lot of crab, and this was my favorite dish he'd make with it. It's a cross between a sauce and a stew, curry-like in texture and rich with flavors of the sea; think coconut milk, fish sauce, and shrimp paste, cut with the sharpness of ginger and scallions. Enjoy with freshly steamed white rice.


Recipe Summary test

25 mins
45 mins
1 hr 10 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop crabs in and cook until shells turn bright red, 8 to 10 minutes. Plunge crabs into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat a large wok over medium-high heat and add garlic oil. Stir in garlic and cook until lightly toasted and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and ginger and saute until onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add scallion whites. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.

  • Add fish sauce and let infuse for 1 minute. Stir in shrimp paste and toast for about 3 minutes. Add Thai chiles; saute for 1 minute more. Pour in coconut milk and water. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes, adding more water if too dry.

  • Meanwhile, break open the crab. Add to the sauce along with any accumulated juices. Simmer until flavors meld, 8 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in spinach and let wilt. Garnish with scallion greens.

Chef's Note:

Crab can be substituted with kabocha squash, long beans, and shrimp.

Nutrition Facts

566 calories; protein 12.7g; carbohydrates 19.3g; fat 52.2g; cholesterol 23mg; sodium 308.9mg. Full Nutrition