Thai Crab Curry Recipe

Closed Up Image of a Thai-style Crab Curry, High Angle View, Differential Focus
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Ratings (13)
  • 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
(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 easily can 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).


  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 2 to 8 chili peppers (such as serrano or Thai, chopped)
  • 1 piece ginger (2 inches, grated, or galangal)
  • 6 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 5 shallots (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (ground)
  • 2 tablespoons zest (lime)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white parts only, chopped fine)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 cups coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
  • 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)

Steps to Make It

  1. 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 into oblivion in a food processor, but it will not be quite the same.

  2. In a large pot or wok, simmer the coconut milk for 5 to 6 minutes. 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 OK.

  3. 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.

  4. Add the black pepper. Serve over white rice and top with the chopped cilantro.