Ginataang Alimasag (Crabs in Coconut Milk)

Live blue crabs are hard to come by. So when I saw that my fave Korean supermarket had some live ones, I didn’t think twice. I bought a couple of pounds of these feisty crustaceans and knew exactly how to cook them. 

These are my absolute favorite! Though whenever I eat ‘em, it makes my nose itch (mild allergy, I guess 🤷🏻‍♀️) not to mention that feeling of my cholesterol level shooting up. That’s why it’s a once-in-a-bluemoon kinda dish.

I was always in charge of food shopping, even at wet markets in the Philippines. If you want to have the freshest and best ingredients that vendors sell, you have to build a good relationship with them. Being a “suki” (frequent customer) has some perks. Aside from them giving you the best ones they offer, you can also make “tawad” (ask for a discount) and ask them to reserve some items that don’t come by very often. When I was still living back home, I had my go-to vendors of chicken, pork, beef and seafood. And that’s one thing I miss. Because we food shop at big box stores here, I pick the stores which give me the best bang for my buck without sacrificing quality. 

Now back to these lovely blue crabs! This dish is a rice magnet. I won’t say how much rice I consumed when we had this for lunch but I’m reminding you to not forget to cook some. Or have some steamed brown rice or Healthy Cauliflower Rice instead, to balance it out.

Ginataang Alimasag (Crabs in Coconut Milk)

Pam from PinoyBites
 Rich and savory crab dish, smothered in creamy coconut gravy that will surely satisfy your seafood craving!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins


  • 2 – 2 ½ lbs fresh blue crabs washed well and drained * (see notes)
  • 2 400 ml coconut milk I used Cha’s organic premium coconut milk
  • 2 inch long ginger sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons shrimp paste (I used Barrio Fiesta sauteed, regular)
  • Small bunch of sitaw Asian long beans, cut into 3 inch lengths * (see notes)
  • 4 Red Thai chilies whole or sliced
  • Patis fish sauce, for seasoning
  • Ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil for sautéing


  • Heat a large pot/wok (with lid) and add oil. Saute the ginger and onion followed by the garlic. Add the coconut milk and shrimp paste and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, gently drop the crabs. Season with ground black pepper. Stir, cover and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes (depending on the size). Make sure the crabs are submerged in the liquid (or most of them) for even cooking.
  • Remove the lid and add in the long beans. Cook covered for 2 minutes. Add the chilies, adjust seasoning (if needed) and cook uncovered until the desired amount of liquid is left. I like mine thick like gravy.
  • Serve hot with lots of rice.


*Any kind of crab (mud, dungeneness, etc) big or small will work. Adjust cooking time depending on the size of crab you use.
**Use good coconut milk for better results. My go-to brands are Aroy-D and Cha’s Organic
Feel free to share with your friends!

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