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Ginataang Alimasag (Crabs in Coconut Milk)

Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars

"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."
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1 h 10 m servings 566
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Per Serving: 566 calories; 52.2 19.3 12.7 23 309 Full nutrition

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Full disclosure: I didn't make this but I ate it at a Filipino kamayan - a traditional feast where your only utensils are your hands. It was one of the most delicious seafood dishes I've ever ha...