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Crab with coconut and cilantro


Cilantro oil:

  • 2 cups (470 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch cilantro

Coconut sauce:

  • 7 ounces (210 ml) coconut milk
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 2-inch (5 cm) stick of cinnamon
  • 1 shallot, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce


  • 1 altaulfo mango, sliced same size as crab
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sambal


  • 2 whole very large king crab legs, steamed, in shell
  • Clarified butter, as needed
  • Lime zest, to garnish


  1. For the cilantro oil, add oil and cilantro in a blender. Blend until light green and homogenous.
  2. Strain through a cheesecloth and reserve.
  3. For the coconut sauce, in a small pot over medium-high heat, mix coconut milk, peppercorns, cloves, lime leaves, cinnamon, shallot, garlic, and lemongrass. Bring to a gentle simmer and steep for 30 minutes to infuse.
  4. Remove from heat and add fish sauce and juice of half a lime.
  5. Before serving, strain the coconut sauce and discard the solids, return to heat.
  6. Brush sambal onto the mango slices.
  7. For the crab, defrost and use scissors to remove the large top muscle. Cut the meat into 2.5-inch (5.75 cm) lengths and square off both ends. Reserve the remainder for another use.
  8. Heat one to two tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of clarified butter (enough to cover the bottom of the skillet with a little extra to baste, as needed) in a small skillet over medium heat. Warm the crab in the butter before serving, do not overcook.
  9. To serve, add some cilantro oil into the coconut sauce. Swirl gently, just allowing it to ‘marble’ the sauce, not completely combine.
  10. Place a small amount of the sauce mixture on the plate.
  11. Brush the sambal off of the mango slices. Place the mango slice on the plate beside the sauce.
  12. Grate lime zest over the crab portion, place crab over mango.

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