Recipe courtesy of Luke Nguyen

Tamarind Crab

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Tamarind Sauce:

1/2 cup tamarind water

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons liquid palm sugar or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)

Pinch sea salt


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 red Asian shallots, finely sliced

1/2 onion, cut into thick wedges

1 tablespoon black or Kampot peppercorns

2 medium blue swimmer crabs, cleaned and quartered

1 handful fresh Khmer basil or Thai basil, plus more for garnish, optional

1 long red chile, finely sliced, plus more for garnish, optional


  1. For the sauce: Mix together the tamarind water, fish sauce, sugar and sea salt in a bowl.
  2. For the crab: Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil, garlic, shallots and onions and stir-fry until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the peppercorns and crabs and toss for 7 minutes. Stir in the tamarind sauce and cook until the crab is cooked through, about 1 minute more. 
  3. Add the basil and chiles, toss once more, and serve garnished with more basil and chiles if desired.