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Crabs in Coconut Milk (Ginataang Alimango)

Ginataang Alimango is a simple crab recipe cooked in coconut milk that has a deliciously creamy and spicy take.

Recipe for whole crab cooked in coconut milk.

Mud crabs or Alimango are abundant in our area. Good thing because I looove crabs! I like them simply steamed and enjoy its sweet meat dunked on a spiced vinegar. Simple joys!

But my Mama’s ginataang alimango recipe is a treat. It is also simple with very accessible local ingredients like coconut milk, squash, yardlong beans, and chili labuyo.

Ingedients for crab in coconut milk

How to choose crabs?

  • First thing is to buy fresh crabs and that means they should still be alive. If you are not going to eat them on the same day, you can steam/boil them and then refrigerate or freeze them.
  • Mud crab season is usually June to September and they are normally less expensive then.
  • Both male and female crabs have tomalley or crab fat, that soft yellow-orange thing found inside the crab. But only females or she-crabs may have roe, the bright orange paste that hardens when cooked. In some countries, only immature she-crabs with immature roe can be harvested as mature ones may have eggs attached, some bans it completely to harvest she-crabs.
  • Mature she-crabs are characterized by their wide apron while the males have pointy ones. The apron is the triangular-shaped flap at the underside of a crab. Virgin immature she-crabs will have both wide and slightly pointy apron and typically have chock-full of immature roes.
  • Mature crabs are normally meatier and chunkier than young ones.
  • A trick I learned from a friend, in choosing meaty crabs is to pinch and feel the underside of the tip of their shell. If it is hard and won’t budge, then it is mature and full of meat. If it feels soft and hollow then it is not as meaty.

Mud Crab cooked in coconut milk with squash.

How to cook crabs?

  1. If you are scared that your crabs will fight back, you can place them in the freezer (alive) for 10-15 minutes to numb them. Some say this is a more humane way of cooking them.
  2. In a large pot, bring enough water to boil. One by one, grab each crab in the middle from behind and plunge it headfirst into the boiling water.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 10-20 minutes depending on how big and heavy the crabs are.
  4. Drain crabs and quickly rinse with water. Clean crab as needed.
Ginataang Alimango with Squash

In the mood for more seafood? Try these…

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Indulge yourself in this delicious and decadently rich shrimp recipe cooked in spicy crab sauce.
Chili Crab Recipe
Get this easy and simple recipe for this yummy Chili Crab that has the perfect blend of sweet and spicy!
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Try this simple recipe of baked mussels stuffed with garlic-bechamel sauce and oozing with melted cheese.

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Spicy Ginataang Alimango Recipe. Mud crabs cooked in coconut milk with squash.

Crabs in Coconut Milk (Ginataan Alimango)

Crabs cooked in coconut milk made thick and creamy by adding squash and a bit spicy from red chili peppers.
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: crabs in coconut milk,ginataang alimango
Servings: 4
Calories: 297kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 4 large mud crabs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-2 clove garlic– minced
  • 1 medium onion– chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups squash– cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup water or crab stock
  • 1 can coconut milk– (13.5 fl. oz.)
  • 1 cup yardlong beans– cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 1-2 pieces red or green chili peppers
  • fish sauce– for seasoning


  • In a large pot, bring enough water to boil. Plunge the crabs head-first one by one. Add salt and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from water and cut the crabs into half. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crab stock.
  • In a large pan, saute garlic and onion in oil until tender and aromatic over medium heat. Add squash and the water or reserved stock. Let it simmer until the squash becomes tender.
  • Add coconut milk and continue to simmer until squash is really soft and mushy like a puree. Add the cooked crabs, yardlong beans, and chili peppers and season with fish sauce. Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and serve with hot steamed rice.


Nutrition Facts
Crabs in Coconut Milk (Ginataan Alimango)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 24g120%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 316mg13%
Potassium 491mg14%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 5778IU116%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Calcium 60mg6%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

This recipe of Ginataang Alimango was originally published in January 2015. Updated in October 2020 to include new photos, more tips, and a recipe video.



Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

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