"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Ginataang Alimasag (Rock Crabs in Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Alimasag (Alimango)
I have never seen crabs being sold here in my area. The first time I had crabs since I came to the USA was when my friend Cecilia gave me some, which she and and husband caught. That was back in 2009, I believe.

Since I started harvesting pole beans (sitaw), I have been daydreaming about eating ginataang alimasag with squash, sitaw, and pechay (bok choy). This morning as I was grocery shopping for more items for canning pickles, I got a butternut squash, thinking I might as well get shrimps to replace the alimasag in my craving. However, as I passed by the seafood area and happened to read the small note where the lobsters were, this was what I read: ROCK CRABS for $2.99/lb. I looked closer at the aquarium for the lobsters, and there I saw 3 crabs! Hah! I asked for 3 lbs of them, and the vendor told me that she was not sure if there were enough to reach 3 lbs. I told her I'd get all that she got. Turned out that she had only those 3 that I saw. Total weight was 3.66 lbs.

I hurriedly drove off, imagining the sequence of prepping the crabs, hoping they would still be alive when I get home. Which they were.

Uncooked crabs
3 rock crabs (almost 4 lbs)
onions (I used 3 small ones)
2 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
1 qt (4 cups) water or more
2 cups chunks of squash
1 can premium coconut milk (I use the Thai brand)
around 10  pole beans, cut short
1 bunch pechay (bok choy), cut in bite-size pieces
salt and pepper
dash of ground basil leaves (optional)
Note: You do NOT have to peel the squash. However tough the skin seems to be, once cooked, it is very tender (not to mention the extra fiber and nutrients you get from it).  Butternut squash cut in chunks only takes 10 minutes to cook, if you do not like it to turn into puree. If you cook it for 15 minutes, you might not end up with chunks in your dish, which is fine if you prefer such, just like my sister in Canada does.

Keep the crabs in some cold water while boiling the water with onions and ginger. While waiting for the water to boil, cut the squash. Once boiling briskly, place the crabs in the water and cover. Cook for 5 minutes while cutting the other veggies and add the squash. Cook for another 5 minutes and add sitaw and bok choy stems, some salt and pepper, and the coconut milk. Simmer uncovered for additional 5 minutes, then add the leafy parts of the bok choy, a dash of ground basil leaves, and cook further until the leaves are wilted.  Total cooking time for this was less than 30 minutes total. Enjoy with plain rice. Best eaten with another Filipino. (My hubby does not eat crustaceans like shrimps, lobsters or crabs, because these remind him of insects.  The rest of his family loves crustaceans.)

Enjoy with plain rice!


  1. that's a great way to cook crabs-like a meal in one dish.

  2. OMG! What a coincidence Manang... I just cooked crabs in coconut milk with squash and green beans today. I used blue crabs though. I wish I could post my pics too ha ha ha.

  3. foodbin, yep! But we still like it with rice.

    Faye, are blue crabs usually sold in your area? In my area, very seldom do I see crabs being sold. I do see frozen king crab's legs but they are expensive!

  4. Yes Manang, they're a bit pricey though. But don't they taste the best? So when they're not available then we eat rock crabs but steamed or we do crab boil.

  5. I love this dish Manang. I hope to cook this recipe on my own, soon. :)

    Been reading your blog for a couple of months now, I hope to try doing anything from here.


  6. Ang mura naman ng rock crabs dyan! You just made me hungry :)


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