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Thai Crab Curry


This is a fragrant, exotic way to celebrate Dungeness or blue crabs. It requires a few exotic ingredients, but they can easily be found in an Asian market. The one thing you cannot substitute or omit, however, is coconut milk. This recipe serves 4-6 as a main course.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 lb crab meat
  • 2-8 chopped hot chiles, such as serrano or Thai
  • A 2-inch piece of galangal or ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves chopped garlic
  • 5 chopped shallots
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • Zest from a lime
  • White parts from 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped fine
  • 1 t shrimp paste (optional)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 T fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 3-4 lemon or lime leaves (optional)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 T chopped cilantro


Add the chiles, galangal or ginger, garlic, shallots, ground coriander, lime zest, lemon grass, salt and shrimp paste and pound it into a paste with a mortar and pestle -- you can also buzz it into oblivion in a food processor, but this will not be quite the same.

In a large pot or wok, simmer the coconut milk for 5-6 minutes. Add the mixture from the mortar and stir it into the coconut milk, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil hard, but a simmer is OK.

Add the crab, fish sauce, sugar and lime leaves and let cook for about five minutes, until the leaves begin to give off their aroma and the crab is warmed through.

Serve over white rice and top with black pepper and the cilantro leaves.

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