Ginger Crab (Mkamba Wa Tangawizi)

  • Serves

    serves 2

Serve this dish with large pieces of the cracked crab right in the broth.


  • 2 lb. cooked whole Dungeness or king crab, or frozen and thawed snow crab legs and claws
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 green Thai chiles, stemmed and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 3 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
  • 14 cup fresh lime juice, preferably from Kaffir or Key limes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice, for serving


Step 1

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. pot over high heat. Add crab and cook, covered, about 4 minutes. Remove crab from pot and set aside to let cool slightly. Strain and reserve cooking liquid. If using whole crab, twist off the claws, crack the claw shells with the back of a knife blade, and transfer to a bowl. Pry off and discard top shell of the crab's body, remove and discard the innards and fingerlike gills, and rinse out any sand that may be left inside. Roughly chop crab body into 3"–4" pieces and transfer to bowl with claws; set aside. (If using just legs and claws, chop them into 3" pieces and set aside.)

Step 2

Wipe out pot, add oil, and heat over medium heat. Add chiles, garlic, shallots, ginger, and tomato and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add reserved crab along with the coconut milk and Kaffir lime leaves and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until crab is warmed through. Stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper. To serve, divide crab pieces between two bowls and ladle the cooking liquid over the top; serve with rice.

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