Thai Crab Curry

Thai crab curry in blue bowl on wooden table

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  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
353 Calories
21g Fat
25g Carbs
22g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 353
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 17g 86%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 1386mg 60%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 22g
Calcium 142mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Thai crab curry recipe is a fragrant, exotic way to celebrate Dungeness or blue crabs. It requires a few unusual ingredients, but they can easily be found in an Asian market. The one thing you cannot substitute or omit, however, is coconut milk (not to be confused with cream of coconut).


  • 2 to 8 chili peppers (such as serrano or Thai, chopped)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger or galangal, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped (white parts only)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 cups coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: 3 to 4 lemon or lime leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Servings Suggestions: White rice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the chile peppers, ginger or galangal, garlic, shallots, ground coriander, lime zest, lemongrass, salt, and optional shrimp paste and pound it into a paste with a mortar and pestle—you also can buzz it in a food processor, but it will not be quite the same.

  3. In a large pot or wok, over medium-high heat, simmer the coconut milk for 5 to 6 minutes.

  4. Add the mixture from the mortar and stir it into the coconut milk, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil hard, but a simmer is okay.

  5. Add the crab, optional fish sauce, sugar, and optional lemon or lime leaves and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the leaves begin to give off their aroma and the crab is warmed through. Add the black pepper.

  6. Serve over white rice and top with the chopped cilantro.