Ginger Crab (Mkamba Wa Tangawizi)

Nuvita Biscuits

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


  • 2 lbs. cooked whole or king crab, or frozen and thawed snow crab legs and claws
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 green 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
  • 1⁄4 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


  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.)
  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.


Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Harriet W on Feb 4, 2013

    I had Chili Crabs while visiting Malaysia and have not found a way to make it here. There are tons of recipes on the web but none taste like the one I had there. Is there anyone living in Malaysia out there who can tell me how to cook their Chili Crabs. The best ones I ate were at a Restaurant at Carry Island on the coast.

  2. posted by Thomas A on Mar 18, 2013

    i need a twenty gallon tank for my future pet hermit crab. can i get it at walmart for twenty bucks? would it be okay for three crabs? what about a fifteen gallon tank? would that hold the crabs comfortably?i plan on having three medium ones. would a ten gallon be enough to hold two crabs?
    i would prefer not getting materials from the internet.

  3. posted by ademuth93 on Mar 23, 2013

    I like broccoli but not in the crab salad.
    I moved to Indiana and here it is made with broccoli.

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