Cracked Crab with Lemongrass, Black Pepper, and Basil

Cracked Crab with Lemongrass, Black Pepper, and Basil Recipe
Photo: Peden & Munk; Styling: Amy Wilson


Big, bold Southeast Asian flavors team up in a perfect balance of salty, sweet, hot, and aromatic.


Serves 4
Total time: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Recipe from


Recipe Time

Total: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Calories 351
Caloriesfromfat 35 %
Protein 35 g
Fat 13 g
Satfat 2.1 g
Carbohydrate 23 g
Fiber 2 g
Sodium 1060 mg
Cholesterol 163 mg


2 stalks fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed and coarse leaves discarded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 fully cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2 lbs. each), cleaned, legs cracked, and bodies quartered
3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup loosely packed cilantro sprigs
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves or small regular basil leaves


1. Chop lemongrass. Put in a food processor with ginger and garlic; whirl until minced. Scrape into a large bowl and stir in honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Add crabs and stir to coat well. Cover, then chill at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

2. Pour oil into a 14-in. wok or a wide 8- to 10-qt. pot over medium-high heat. With a slotted spoon, add crabs (reserve marinade). Cover and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes (omit this cooking time if using fully cooked crabs).

3. Uncover pan, add marinade, and cook, stirring often, until crabs are steaming and meat is opaque, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in cilantro and basil, then transfer crabs and juices to a serving bowl.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

January 2014
Also featured in: Sunset, December 2008;
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