Cooking crabs may seem intimidating for some, especially when dealing with live crustaceans that have claws waiting for the right moment to attack. But do not fret! Preparing crabs is actually easier than you think—and you’ll even benefit more when you purchase them still alive. Here are three ways you can cook crabs without breaking a sweat.
Take a large pot and fill it with enough water to cover the crabs you are cooking. Season the water with salt and bring to a boil. Once ready, carefully place crabs one at a time. Boil them until their color changes to a bright orange, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove crabs from the water; prepare and serve as preferred.
Fill a pot with some water and bring to a boil. Arrange crabs in the steamer basket. Once the pot starts releasing steam, place the steamer basket on top and cover. Steam crabs until cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove crabs from the steamer basket; prepare and serve as preferred.
This method requires immobilizing the crab first. Flip the crab on a chopping board, spike a knife into the center hole, and cut the crab in half. You may cut larger crabs further into quarters. Claws may also be separated from the main body. From here, you may stir-fry the crabs in a hot wok and toss in your preferred sauce. Alternatively, you may also coat and dredge the crabs in breadcrumbs and deep-fry until cooked and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels; prepare and serve as preferred.
Now that you’ve cooked the crabs to perfection, it’s time to take them to the next level by tossing them in delicious sauces that are just as easy to whip up. Although they are inspired by restaurant-quality dishes, these three fuss-free recipes can easily be done at home using regular Filipino pantry staples. All sauces are enough for 1 kilo crabs.
1 Salted Egg Crabs
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a wok. Sauté 4 cloves garlic (chopped) until fragrant. Add 6 tablespoons butter and yolks from 6 salted eggs (mashed); mix well to combine. Add 6 tablespoons all-purpose cream and ¾ cup water. Season with 2 tablespoons sugar. Add whites from 3 to 4 salted eggs (chopped; add according to preferred saltiness). Add crabs and toss. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water. Top with chopped cilantro leaves and more chopped salted egg whites, if desired. Serve immediately.
2 Sarciado-style Crabs
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a wok. Sauté 4 cloves garlic (chopped) until fragrant. Add 2 white onions (chopped) and 4 tomatoes (chopped); cook until tender. Add 2 cups water and simmer sauce for 8 minutes. Add ¼ cup sweet chili sauce, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer for 4 minutes. Slowly add 1 egg (beaten) and stir until just cooked. Add crabs and toss. Top with chopped green onions, if desired. Serve immediately.
3 Coco-Pineapple Crabs
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a wok. Sauté 4 cloves garlic (chopped) and 1-inch piece ginger (sliced into strips) until fragrant. Add 2 cups coconut milk and simmer until thick and reduced, about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup pineapple tidbits, 2 green finger chilies (chopped, if desired), and 2 teaspoons fish sauce. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add crabs and toss. Serve immediately.