12 Aug2008


Very fresh alimasag or blue crabs thrown straight onto the hot grill until they just sizzled a bit and their shells turned a pale orange. Served on banana leaves, each guest could take one or two whole crabs to work on, and dip into the same sawsawan used for the free-range prawns in the previous post, here. For me, a small bowl of vinegar and rock salt and I was in roasted alimasag heaven. Roasted crab that is NOT overcooked seems particularly sweet and yet is drier due to the cooking method… it didn’t steam except in its own juices and it wasn’t boiled, so the meat isn’t waterlogged…


Another bonus because of the roasting is that the thin shells of the alimasag dry out and get brittle, making it much easier to crack them and get to all of the crab meat. This was definitely a kamayan style meal, but simply and utterly delicious!




  1. EbbaMyra says:

    Oh, gosh, I love alimasag. Here in Houston, maraming mabibili, especially in Vietnamese market. Minsan lang nako-confuse ako kung alimasag or alimango. I buy them when I can, cooked in Oyster sauce and just plain steam. With this post, I think I will try grilling them from now on.

    Does anybody knows Kuray? Its a hairy crab found in Quezon.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 1:59 am


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  3. kate says:

    kuray? is it the same as curacha found in Zamboanga? the curacha is a bit strange looking but i’m not sure if it is hairy. but i did find it yummy when i tried it out, hehe.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 2:34 am

  4. Apicio says:

    Alimango are usually much larger and heavier than alimasag, chunkier than the spindly alimasag, its shell seems to be structurally sounder too so you need a blunt instrument to break into them to get at the meat. Most varieties of alimasag also have spots on the claws and legs and charming rococo Rorschach on the carapace notable on the second picture.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 2:54 am

  5. navyGOLF says:

    The crabs looks really appetizing MM! I’ve never tried grilling it due to fear of half-cooked. Makes me want to try it out later.
    Is it correct to say that that Alimango is only grown and cultured in fresh water, while Alimasag is trapped in the open sea?

    Aug 12, 2008 | 5:00 am

  6. sonia says:

    ” charming Rococo Rorschach” . . . Apicio, you are so great with words ! i so enjoy your comments and look forward to them.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 5:32 am

  7. Gay says:

    Hey, I never thought of grilling alimasag before.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 5:59 am

  8. Marketman says:

    Gay, super easy and super sarap! Sonia, I think we all look forward to Apicio’s comments… navyGOLF, alimasag have thinner shells so are easier to grill. Over a hot fire, it shouldn’t take more than a total of 10 minutes or so to cook medium sized ones. Alimango is cultured in ponds in “brackish” water or a mixture of salt and fresh water. However, in many provinces, you can catach “free-range” alimango in the muddy mangroves, which are predominantly salt water. They also thrive near river mouths in brackish water. I have had enormous (nearly a kilo each) alimango from Norther palawan that were caught in the wild. Absolutely delicious. The alimasag, I think, are only caught in the wild or at sea, I do not think they are raised in ponds here in the Philippines, though I could be wrong. Apicio, not only do they have charming patterns, it seems the patterns indicate whether you have a male or female, according to our office staff, and you don’t have to turn the crab over to see if it is triangular or rounded on the belly… also, thrown into the alimasag here were both the blue crabs and cross crabs as well… kate and EbbaMyra, I have a post on curacha in the archives, if you are curious.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 7:29 am

  9. virgie says:

    My God, MM, what are you doing to your readers. Lechon, Alimasag, Sugpo, and all other delicacies you write about….. you know you’re killing us just by lurking at them… Somebody, please arrange an eyeball. There should be a med-tech to get our blood samples and whoever has the highest level of cholesterol and blood sugar wins.

    But truth be told, reading your blog makes my day!

    Aug 12, 2008 | 7:52 am

  10. Tricia says:

    An eyeball would be great!

    Potluck maybe? :)

    Aug 12, 2008 | 8:36 am

  11. Marketman says:

    tricia and virgie, you ARE PRE-EMPTING me, with an announcement up soon. But be prepared for surprises… :)

    Aug 12, 2008 | 8:47 am

  12. AleXena says:

    Oh my god cholesterol heaven!!! I read in the prawn thread that someone suggested if Market Man was to add alimasag to his feast it will truly be superb=) And he did!

    My heart stopped just seeing this. And I was craving for a sinigang sa bayabas na alimasag just this weekend. Hope the full moon is near.=)

    Aug 12, 2008 | 8:57 am

  13. Marketman says:

    Alexena, actually, crabs and shrimps have modest amounts of cholesterol, unless you dip them in butter, fry them in fat, add mayonnaise, etc… :)

    Aug 12, 2008 | 9:11 am

  14. AleXena says:

    Wow thanks again for the enlightenment=) maybe its only the orange part of the crabs and shrimps that are fatty but not their meat… I know the orange part is aligue in alimasag but in sugpo I am lost for words hehehe!=)

    sinigang sa bayabas na alimasag here I come!=)

    Aug 12, 2008 | 9:39 am

  15. zeph says:

    Oh God, two of my favorite foods in succession. I like my crabs the way you like it MM, just dipped into cane vinegar and rock salt, or with crushed garlic too. Yummy! This post made my day.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 10:00 am

  16. EbbaMyra says:

    Mr. MM thanks for the curacha info; I will sure try to get some Alavar sauce when I get back to Pinas. Regarding Kuray and Curacha, I don’t think they are the same. Kuray crabs’ body looks like the ordinary alimango/alimasag, but darker color and with lots of hair. When I was stationed in North Carolina (near the coast), I saw a picture of a hairy crab in a seafood market, and the name they have posted was “Spider Crab”. Oh, well, I just have to ask my relatives in Quezon. All I know is that they catch them in fresh water mud, these crabs burrow deep in the dirt. My mom cooks it in thick coconut milk (and lots of ginger), and listen to this… with fresh finely grated young coconut added.

    Aug 12, 2008 | 10:42 pm

  17. kayenne says:

    a spoonful of vinegar into the boiling water for crabs is said to make the meat easier to pick.

    Aug 13, 2008 | 3:16 am

  18. openonymous says:

    thI like grilling shellfish also, like shrimps, clams, oysters and diwal, but i notice that when i grill crabs, the meats of the claw sticks to the shell itself, compared to when steamed or boiled, the meat comes out easily.

    Aug 13, 2008 | 3:57 am

  19. Marketman says:

    openymous, the sticking dows sometimes occur, but mainly when overcooked. If the meat is still moist, it should come out relatively easily… kayenne, that’s a trick I haven’t tried… thanks. EbbaMyra, I guess the kuray are different from curacha then… zeph, yes, some garlic is a classic, of course…

    Aug 13, 2008 | 8:46 am

  20. mike says:

    EbbaMyra are you from Quezon? Masarap and kuray kapag season kasi red ang aligi niya. Usually kasi black dahil sa grass and leaves ang kinakain nya.

    Aug 14, 2008 | 1:19 pm

  21. EbbaMyra says:

    Mike, my parents are from Mauban but our inherited property is at Calauag. Sa Mauban ako nakakatikim lagi ng Kuray, although meron din daw sa Calauag, local said wala silang nahuhuli because fishpond there are of salted water. When I go Pinas lagi akong nagpapahanap nito plus those mini crabs (ano pang tawag don), which is cooked same way as Kuray.

    Aug 14, 2008 | 9:57 pm

  22. mike says:

    Marami kasing mini crabs, Yung galing mangroves with hard shell like alimango. Buk-on ang tawag then meron din Alagad from shorelines. Pero pinakamasarap ang Tak-la or Mini Lobster.Miss mo na ano?

    Aug 15, 2008 | 1:49 pm

  23. EbbaMyra says:

    Hindi ko alam yang mga terms mong yan, thanks sa info. I will ask my relatives kung meron non, then I want it. Talangka ang pangalan na iniisip ko. 2 years ago on my trip sa Pinas, some friends took me to Dencio, a classic resto in Makati yata yon, and they have mini crabs (smaller than talangka), they were deep fried and served in sizzing platter. Parang pulutan daw yon, although we did not drink liquor but ordered green mango juice instead. These crabs were a little costly to my price range, pero since hindi ako ang nagbayad, ayos na rin. Yes, I miss these talanga, I did not get them last time, but instead somebody brought me Katang-katangan. They had very very hard shells, with flesh meat, but not a lot.

    Aug 15, 2008 | 9:11 pm

  24. lucadong says:

    when in season, live blue crabs are also available in oriental
    stores here. once a year i get a dozen soft-shell version
    shipped overnight from maryland; always deep fried, but next time i will grill some.

    i was pleasantly surprised to learn (from may 2008 issue of saveur) that there is a “secret” crabbing spot in new york city. imagine the treat for recreational foragers to gather
    these tasty beauties, cook them at home, then sit in front of
    tv watching yankees vs mets, and eat alimasag as pulutan in
    between innings. i mean, in new york city!
    with strong ties to boston and new york, you’re probably
    privy to this “secret” place.

    Aug 16, 2008 | 5:59 am

  25. Marketman says:

    lucadong, yes, I got that issue of Saveur with the Vietnamese family meal… interesting indeed. Though in it’s heyday, the Hdson River was incredibly rich in food sources, hence the proliferation of Indian tribes/settlements along its banks…

    Aug 16, 2008 | 9:00 am

  26. dhayL says:

    inihaw na alimasag? i’ve never had it before, just too bad that the last 2 times we bought alimasag, they weren’t really much meat in them…

    Aug 22, 2008 | 9:26 pm


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