Cracked Crab with Lemongrass, Black Pepper, and Basil

Photo: Peden & Munk; Styling: Amy Wilson  

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

Yield: Serves 4
Recipe from Sunset

More From Sunset

Recipe Time

Total: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 351
  • Calories from fat: 35%
  • Protein: 35g
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 2.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sodium: 1060mg
  • Cholesterol: 163mg


  • 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. 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. 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. 3. Uncover pan, add marinade, and cook, stirring often, until crabs are steaming and meat is opaque, about 5 minutes.
  4. 4. Stir in cilantro and basil, then transfer crabs and juices to a serving bowl.
  5. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
Also featured in: Sunset, December 2008
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